Saturday, June 27, 2009


Why This Technology Cannot Be Ignored

Today our local criminals are unlike criminals of 10, 20 or 30 years ago; crimes are different, less sophisticated,brazen, violent and unforgiving. They use deadly state-of-the-art weaponry with excessive force, are insensitive and not averse to taking a life. According to TnT Police Crime and Problem Analysis Branch CAPA) there were a total of 6,541 serious crimes in 2008. Amazingly, for the first six months of 2009, serious crimes recorded are 8,010. For both years the detection rates are below 2 percent but there is a response. The country has reached a state of unprecedented violent and serious crimes. There is a peculiar fact of most serious crimes.

In some form or fashion, most at some point involves the use of an automobile. Usually, because of the need to be mobile, or as a get away alternative; an automobile is essential. It is also known that many serious crimes begin with the stealing/taking of an automobile. Here again, CAPA reported that in 2008, 710 vehicles were stolen (15 detected) and in 2009 so far that figure is 853 (40 detected) for the first six months. Do you see a trend here?

Stealing by stealth is the old fashion way of acquiring an automobile. Thieves of yesteryear could easily hot wire your vehicle and be gone within a few short minutes. Today, it’s even quicker and easier because by using force they can effortlessly bypass the sophisticated audible anti-theft alarms like Viper or other brands of annoying noise makers. They work fine but are totally useless when a gun is involved.

Currently most proactive, sophisticated anti-theft alarms available on the market are ineffective against the new crime wave. Most insurers, banks and financial institutions require that a security device be installed in every new vehicle. So now, aside from these devices becoming a numbing annoyance, now, even the unsophisticated criminal knows how to disable them. But technology has upped the ante. Grass root organizations advocating the use of technology are beginning to form. Trinidad and Tobago welcomes GPS.

GPS tracking technology is not new to Trinidad and Tobago because there have been a number of companies offering some type of GPS tracking service since the mid nineties. These companies have adopted what they considered a complete security package where they not only track your vehicle but provide a rapid response team to retrieve it and provide roadside assistance as a bundled service. Their business model required an up front purchase of equipment and a monthly maintenance fee to infinity. Because of the high acquisition cost, their target large rental companies, large conglomerates and the affluent.

As with most technological devices, it was only a matter of time before the price went down. The challenge now is not the price but understanding the technology with the variety of models the market. There is a need for understanding on not really “how it works” but “how can it affect your life”. Because of the large selection in the market today with wide ranges of functions and features you just cannot take the word of one supplier. Some consumers are now committed because they have signed contracts obligating them to continue making excessive payments. There are a number of alternatives for getting a GPS tracker without entering into monthly contract to infinity.

The bulk of the new technology is coming out of Japan, China and Taiwan. These devices come with varying capabilities. The fact is that GPS technology can be used anywhere in the globe. There are only a very few points on the globe that cannot be triangulated with the satellites in space.

As such, any GPS device will provide geographic coordinates (longitudinal and latitudinal) for the user. In most of the cases, because the information it provides is coded, a computer must be used in order to locate a vehicle. For the Trinidad and Tobago general public, ease of use, user friendliness and access to a computer becomes a major issue in adopting these devices. The complexity issue is also one of the major weaknesses of non-localized imported devices because it’s a technological challenge to most users.

There are, however, a handful of GPS trackers that incorporates Smart Cellular Phone technology: The smart device which is installed in the vehicle is a microcomputer with landmark databases, GPS tracker, mobile phone and motion detector…. all rolled into one! These devices were designed for general international use, with a few landmarks obtained from public databases and most cannot identify local land marks.
Many still rely exclusively on Google Maps and Google Earth web technology to provide any meaningful information. As such, even when some of these devices use a cell phone the information about the actual location is not readily available. Ease of use is extremely important especially to the general public who may not have access to the internet.

The quality of the device boils down to the quality of the information and how quickly that information is provided. If you live in Trinidad and would like to know more about GPS technology in Trinidad such as: how GPS works, the TT insurance company’s position, the average price range, your options and the criteria you should use when choosing a tracker get the free special report entitled:


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Saturday, June 20, 2009

I Was A Supporter, But I’m No Fanatic

Why I'm No Longer A Party Member

Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe, and enthusiastically act upon... must inevitably come to pass! -Paul J. Meyer

As many of you who read this blog know I have recently (3 years) returned to Trinidad to live and have become a sort of social activist. My reasons are simple; Trinidad is my home.

My emotions run high about many injustices in the world. Pretty much all of them I can do nothing about. I was never in a position to make any significant contribution in the communities in Boston, MA or Ft. Lauderdale FL. It was not long after my arrival here that I decided that I would not quietly blend into my community.

I think what initially motivated me was a feeling of wanting to give back to the community. As a result, I campaigned to revitalize my community Village Council so that my neighbors would have representation. The government had initiated many social programmes but without an organized active body in the community only the basic services were provided.

The Village Council operates under a constitution and is governed by national and regional organizations. With a long history of providing social services to the immediate community it is strictly non-political. And because of this organization, I ended up in the politics of the country.

Here again the logic was simple. Most of the community supported the People National Movement (PNM), that being a tradition with no apparent logic. From what I had known of the politics of this particular party was that there was a lot of “stupidness” going on internally.

That mattered little at the time because, in my opinion; with or without me the “stupidness” would continue. So my logic was that if this is the party that would most likely win the election, this is the party I would back. In hindsight I think that getting involved in politics should come not from who would win but some other more enduring philosophy. Anyway, here is what happened.

I was elected to the position of Vice President of Party Group 18. As the vice president there were the obligatory weekly meetings to discuss party politics and campaigning to recruit more members. It was at these meetings that I was singled out as not being timid in voicing my opinions about issues.

Maybe it’s because I articulated what I felt with out reservations for party politics. What amazed me most was how the people in the meeting led by the Chairwoman of the Constituency ignored the currents issues in the party. In fact, they fleetingly rationalized what I considered very significant issues related to ethics and morality as practiced by party leaders. Issues like the Finance Minister which I wrote about in one post here.

The constituency Party Group meetings never discussed relevant issues like the high crime rate in the country, the fact that the Prime Minister wanted to purchase a private jet, the close to half a billion dollar mansion he built or the proposed construction of, not one but three, smelter plants in the country. To them these were non-issues. I begged to differ.

My question has always been; how could sane, intelligent people not rebel or even discuss issues that apparently affected their lives? The answer was not readily available but with a little research I now have an answer to the riddle. You could probably guess the reason too; it’s really that obvious. But I digress.

Now here is my dilemma. I am now receiving invitations to what I would call party sponsored events some of which make me appear as if I agree with the party politics. I have received personal invitations to conventions, sporting events and consultations. Some I have attended and some I have ignored because none really every address any of what to me are very relevant party issues.

If you have been following me here you may remember the post on the Summit of the Americas where I related the story when the President of Party Group 18 was denied an invitation because only my name was listed as an invited guest. My protests were ignored and because I did not reach the point I’m today, I accepted it. That too was a revelation.

Well I called it a dilemma but the dilemma lasted for about a day. Today, I’m officially and symbolically burning my party card, symbolic because the promised party card was never delivered. I’m exercising my right as a citizen not to participate.

I’m willing to accept the backlash that I will no longer be invited to functions and meetings that have provided a network of party associates. I was a supporter but I am no fanatic and will continue to be a social activist in the true sense of the word. I refuse to compromise my moral and ethical values for what I could potentially gain from being a member

Thank you for reading my rant.

Be well.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Tick On The Ass Of A Bull


Find purpose, the means will follow
. -Gandhi

Today it would be remiss of me if I did not offer my congratulations to the Anti-Smelter coalition in Trinidad and Tobago. A judge issued an injunction to temporarily stop a multi-million dollar aluminum smelter project in La Brea Trinidad. A project that seemed to be back asswards from its inception.

From what has been reported the Trinidad & Tobago government borrowed over $112 US million dollars $703 million TTDfrom the Chinese Government to build a smelter with the condition that a Chinese company will get the contract to construct the plant. Does that sound like someone was double dipped?

Well, thats a loan any banker would love to make. Imagine the benefits of such a loan that comes right back to your bank and the entire loan is still outstanding. A sweet deal for the Chinese, really nothing against China but that is the stupidest thing I ever heard. But that’s not all.

Economically and ecologically smelter plants are a potential disaster. The aluminum market has been depressed; it is an old industry with an uncertain future. It is not a wise business decision in an age of information technology. There are literally thousands of other more lucrative and safe investments in the world today. A smelter plant does not exactly fit into a clear 20/20 vision.

One of the guarantees of building a smelter plant is that it will produce enough toxic waste to destroy the entire surrounding eco-system. And get this, the company have assured the residents living in the surrounding areas that they will be tested for on an annual basis for a variety of potential life threatening diseases. Is anybody that stupid?

Sorry for the rhetorical question.

It is in that light that the Justice Dean-Armorer ruled to quash the Certificate of Environmental Clearance issued by the Environmental Management Authority of Trinidad and Tobago. That was a mouthful wasn’t it? In a 156 page ruling she said that the certificate issuance was “…procedurally irregular irrational and made without regard to a relevant consideration” Another mouthful but a very important declaration. But there is an obvious problem here.

The Trinidad and Tobago Government has already committed to this project to the tune of over $112 US million dollars. Chinese workers are on the ground and work has begun. How do we get out of this one?

The Chinese government will put the squeeze on the Trinidad and Tobago government and who ever the smart men were that concocted this extravagant scheme will be forced to take action. The making of a thriller for TV. The Chinese government is not going away without building something. They loaned the GOTT money with an implied or expressed agreement. That’s enough money for China to send some troops over here and have everyone of us building smelters or whatever they decide we should build?

OK, you laugh, but it’s not funny. The anti-smelter coalition is a tick on a large bull ass and when that bull begins to notice the tick it will react. One good hard lick and ticks are gone. What is actually very intriguing right now is that in the next few weeks and months we can be observers to the response. We will be a part of a process to put that billion dollar project back on stream. Let’s see how it will be handled.

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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Is There Such A Thing As Scientific Advertising?

"Understanding And Using These Simple Concepts Can Revolutionize The Advertising Industry in Any Country

Know what you want to do, hold the thought firmly, and do every day what should be done, and every sunset will see you that much nearer the goal. -Elbert Hubbard

Over 400 million dollars is spent every year on advertising in Trinidad and Tobago. Unfortunately approximately 90 percent of it is wasted money. Most advertisers may as well burn their money to keep the mosquitoes away because in the end they get about the same result. It is so bad that even the advertising that works are not maximized to its fullest potential.

There is a perception in this country that advertising is mostly unscientific. The idea is just to place an ad in the newspapers, magazines or write a script for television or radio and see what happens. In the hard print industry circulation is measured by the actual numbers of copies printed not sold or distributed. Rarely is anything tested or modified to measure the changes. Very little is monitored. The only thing that business owner can point to is the number of inquiries produced by the ad or visits to their business place. Stats on how many became customers and the volume of sale that transpired is hardly ever monitored.

Quite a few honest owners will tell you that sometimes they bomb. Meaning the response did not even pay for the cost of the advertisement. The ad agent response is that something went wrong but that could be fixed if it was tried in a different way. The crux of the challenge is that most business owners although they have been advertising for years have never taken the time to find out the right way to do it. Advertising can be scientific.

There is no excuse for someone in the advertising industry not understanding the concept of scientific advertising. In fact a very good criterion for choosing an advertising agent or agency is to ask this question. “Have you read the book, ‘Scientific Advertising’ by Claude Hopkins?” You can make your decision based on their answer to that one question. There are fundamental concepts in this book when applied to the advertising industry in Trinidad can literally transform what presently exist now.

This book was written in the 1920s so its now in the public domain it can be downloaded and read anytime so there is no excuse other than plain laziness that any business person who is spending thousands of dollars on advertising should not take the time to read it. It will literally save you thousands of wasted dollars. In fact, it is even more important that all advertising agents, agencies and others involved in preparing ads, writing copy or in any way involved in advertising should make it mandatory reading. Here is what the preeminent twentieth century advertising legend David Ogilvy had to say about this book.

"Nobody, at any level, should be allowed to have anything to do with advertising until he has read this book seven times."

When Mr. Ogilvy wrote those words information overload was just beginning, today it has double or tripled. But it is still true. Understanding the concepts in this book as it relates to advertising and selling will save business owners thousands in ineffective advertising. Here is a simple example of one of Mr. Hopkins fundamental concepts. Putting it In my words, not his.

“Any advertiser who does not measure the results of his advertising is not in a position to have an intelligent conversation about advertising.” Simply saying that each advertisement that is placed in any medium should be tracked and measured and the results recorded. On agency owner was so taken back by a question on measuring advertisement his response was that it was the responsibility of the client to measure the effectiveness of an ad his agency placed. And this was by no means a small agency in the heart of Port of Spain.

The internet offers a host of tools for analyzing advertising campaigns but what is done offline is done to some extent online. Fact is not that the ability is absent but when the business owner does not know what to ask for he gets what is offered. One company based in Dubai, Toucan recognizes the huge potential in Trinidad is targeting companies in the Caribbean. Read here. Understanding the concepts in this book will even help if you advertise online.

Ok here is the deal. You can download a free copy of the book Scientific Advertising here. Or you can purchase an audio copy that I have recorded and burned on a CD. The price of the CD is $29.95 TTD. Its your choice, read the seven chapters one word at a time or listen to it over and over in your vehicle or at home while relaxing doing something else.

If you have the time to read this book more than once just download the free copy and read it. If not, send me an email and I will prepare a copy of the CD for you. Either way just get to it now. It is that important. Don’t spend another cent on advertising until your have read or listened to this book. And if your are in the advertising business and have not read it. It should be your top priority, it will help you immensely.

Thanks and Be Well

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Yuh Eh Trini To D Bone, ef Yuh doh no pan

Well You Should If You're A Native Of The Caribbean And Especially Trinidad.

If you want to get somewhere you have to know where you want to go and how to get there. Then never, never, never give up. -Norman Vincent Peale

The calypso that immortalized the phrase “Trini to d bone” was right on spot. Being a Trinidadian has very little to do with how you speak and much more about the activities you enjoy that tickle your spirit. Partying, liming, eating a cultural mix of foods with its own special flavor and listening to pan music are the things that a Trini really like. Listening to pan because that’s what most Trinis can do; listen nothing else. Some don’t even make sense when they talk about pan. But here is what every Trini should know...

The steel pan is one of the only instruments in the world today that was actually invented in the 20th century. It duplicates the concept of music by rhythmically striking an instrument to produce different sounds; like a drum. Ironically, the birth of the pan was initiated when the former slave colonist blamed the African drums for inciting dissension. A resolution was passed to burn and ban all drums.

For awhile, Africans switched to beating the bamboo but it did not satisfy their spirit. Later on as metal became an everyday commodity, the creative African spirit manifested an inner rhythm into what is now known as the steel pan. There is a bit of historical pan controversy as to who the actual inventor was but everyone knows that who ever it was they lived in Trinidad.

In his potent poem below, pan poet, Jesse Andrews provides a valuable perspective on the mythical making of the steel pan. As the poet explained, the poem focuses on the attempt to steal a legacy inherent in the African to beat drums. According to him the spirit could not be suppressed. In fact it was reincarnated as the steel pan drum. The following is Mr. Andrew’s poem:

From "Steal Drum" to Steel Drum

De African drum is de African mouth
When de drum talking a spirit jump out
It go in your mind then it go down your spine
De shango spirit make you wriggle and wine
So you wriggle and wine as de drums converse
But de colonial masters dem did fear the worse
Dem say how the drums talking war
So they ban the drums from shore to shore
But de shango spirit never leave de land
It jump in a goat then it went in a man
Then it fly in a fowl and end in a pan
Now de steelpan drum is the Trini mouth
And when de pans playing the spirit dance out
It go in your mind then it go down your spine
De steelpan spirit make you wriggle and wine
You wriggle and wine as de high note ring
Ah hear Forteau say "Pan is a spiritual ting."

So Why Every Trini Child Should Know This?

Ok, let’s say your child is really intellectually and academically smart. Assume that he/she can recall all the Greek battles in Mesopotamia and the adventures of Attila the Hun. They know most significant dates in British and American history, everything about the world wars and even Haitian history. Then someone ask him about the steel pan.

Like me there is a huge possibility that they know very little about it. In fact, if he/she does know anything about the pan it is what has been learned haphazardly and certainly not because they were encouraged to go lime in the pan yard. Only someone involved in pan would encouraging a child to hang out in a pan yard and even then that is questionable.

Even if they know a little pan history and can tell you how it is singularly the only musical instrument that was created in the 20th Century. It would be unlikely that they tell you how the pan is recognized in many reputable foreign universities and in fact there are examinations to document proficiency in pan music. And here is why?

In Trinidad, the steel pan evolved from the grass roots of the population and in its early days was associated with the under privileged class. Pan music was played by individuals who were commonly known as “pan men” another euphemism for what was called “bad john” or in today’s language “gangsters”. Nobody ever answered “pan man” when the question was asked: “What do you want to be when you grow up?

It would appear that pan music evolved in spite of its history. In the formative years pan music was only popular during the carnival season. In fact, that was the only time that there was a mixing of the various strata of classes in Trinidad. Pan music was the catalyst that allowed everyone to have a grand ole time then on Ash Wednesday it was back to work as usual. So what happened?

As the quality of the pan music evolved more sophisticated pan musicians raised their talents into other genres of music. It was only when international audiences began to demand more pan music that Trinbagonian started paying attention to the value of the pan. It is now internationally recognized Unfortunately, in Trinidad and Tobago pan music still taken for granted.

Today, the value of children learning pan music is discounted by many parents who are not aware of the intrinsic value of a child learning music. More importantly, they are unaware of the tremendous value of an education that focuses on the only musical instrument invented in the 20th century. A few educators have realized that our children need to experience pan, not just as listeners but as citizens whose history, and in come cases future, will be tied in to the experience they have with the national instrument.

It is unique to every young Trinidad and Tobago citizen and should actually be required learning for every child in school. Times are changing and we now see a few primary schools such as St Joseph Girls School in St Joseph and San Juan Government hiring a pan musician to help their students learn the steel pan as a musical instrument.

This article was written to promote a July-August Vacation Pan Camp in Trinidad and Tobago. Find out more about the pan camp by going here. The Pan Camp. If you are considering sending your child to a day camp for the August vacations make sure to get a Free Summer Camp Special Report.

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

It's Fun to Know: The Demand for Surgical Masks

Visioning Future Demand

Crystallize your goals. Make a plan for achieving them and set yourself a deadline. Then, with supreme confidence, determination and disregard for obstacles and other people's criticisms, carry out your plan. -Paul Meyer

When you tune into media coverage of the swine flu pandemic, you can't miss all the surgical masks being worn by pedestrians and health officials in Mexico and other affected countries.

But if the pandemic hits the U.S. in big numbers... demand for those masks could get out of hand. Turns out that the official U.S. government stockpile is only 119 million masks - that's about one for every three Americans. And the Department of Health and Human Services estimates we would need 30 billion if the pandemic goes "full-fledged," because they need to be replaced regularly to be effective.

The good news? Many health experts doubt that the masks do much to help stop the spread of disease - mostly because people tend to use them incorrectly or sporadically. What does work? Canceling large social gatherings, frequent hand washing, and covering your mouth when coughing.

(Source: Time)Advertise on blogs

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Can Niche Marketing Save Your Business?

How To Reduce Your Cost Of Marketing

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined. -Henry David Thoreau

If you have read any marketing literature you have most likely advised that you should find a niche. This in traditional marketing was referred to as market segmentation. The question is; why is it so important that you should focus on it. The answer is savings and profits.

Targeting a Niche Saves Marketing Resources.

There are two predominant mindsets in Trinidad, one where people think that the more businesses they start the more money they will make. One short lived partner of mine insisted in being in 5 businesses at the same time. He ignore my advice which was if what you are doing is successful you can make millions with it, why look at other things. Guess is the same way we think of women, one is good but two or three is a lot better.

The other mindset is that everybody needs what I’m selling so everyone can be a customer. Dope slap for thinking that. Without knowing what you sell I can guarantee you that every one is not your customer. Sure everyone could use your product or service but people buy what they need not what you sell.

As soon as you can wrap your mind around the fact that everybody is not your potential customer you will be way ahead of the game and save yourself thousands of dollars. Trying to market to everybody only wastes your marketing resources. In today's tough economy, you can't afford to waste money on ineffective marketing.

Niche Marketing Allows You To Talk To Your Market

People are people, when you talk to them they listen. There are literally millions of advertising messages produced daily most not talking to anyone in particular talking to everyone. These messages attract the people who are interested everyone else ignores the message. I bet you have too.

Niche marketing allows you to talk to the people who actually has a need and will be more likely to respond to your offer.

When you know where people in your target market shops, how many children they have, where they work and how much money they make you can use a range of tactics and strategies to get their attention. Niche marketing is easy less costly and a lot more ineffective. It makes it easy to learn what appeals to which makes marketing easier and less expensive.

Niche Marketing Helps Your Marketing Strategy

When you know your target market, you know what they read, where they go for entertainment, what TV shows and radio stations they listen to you can craft more effective marketing messages. Your creativity will be tapped which will improve your chances of selling your products or services.

Niche Marketing helps you to meet your potential customer’s needs. It helps to build relationships and brands you with a heart. It builds a client data base.

You Decide And Develop Your Own Niche

The best part of niche marketing is that you can decide which niche you will target. Think about the product or service you are offering. Who in your market absolutely needs it? Its easier if you have been in business for awhile. Look at your current or past clients, describe them. Even if you have not been in business for awhile, write a description of your ideal client.
Describe the niche then go after it and stop wasting money thinking that everybody needs your product or services.

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T&T Tobacco Companies Blantantly Ignore Tobacco Laws

Did You Know That Single Cigarette Should Only Be Sold In Wrappers Labeled: "SMOKING IS DANGEROUS TO YOUR HEALTH" In...