Daily Brief - Friday 14th July, 2017

NEWS

Baby-in-fridge doctor freed by police

Medical doctor Ronald Budhooram, 60, was released from police custody yesterday after spending 72 hours in custody and facing intense interrogation by police in relation to how a newborn baby ended up in the freezer at his medical office in San Fernando. Upon Budhooram’s release from the San Fernando police station at 3.30 pm, police confirmed investigations into the death of the baby, born to a couple from Fyzabad, will continue. At about 2 pm, while he was still in custody, police swooped down on Budhooram’s office in Cocoyea Village. He has been a doctor for the past 35 years. Earlier, investigations led police to the Sewlal Trace, Fyzabad home of the baby’s mother Cindy Gail Sooknanan, 22. An autopsy revealed no foul play as the baby died of complications arising out of being born prematurely. Detectives interviewed Budhooram in the presence of his attorney Subhas Panday. When police did not lay any charge on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and yesterday yet his client remained in custody, attorney Panday who led attorney Petronella Basdeo, filed a Habeas Corpus writ in the San Fernando High Court, seeking Justice David Harris’ instruction to the police to show cause for the doctor’s continued detention without charge. The writ was filed against the Commissioner of Police and Justice Harris, in granting it, ordered that Budhooram be brought to the court today at 9 am and in the meantime, he (Budhooram) was to be released immediately. Read more here

Sexual favours for jobs

San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello says an investigation will be launched into allegations that members of the Contractors and General Workers’ Trade Union (CGWTU) are demanding sexual favours from women to help them gain employment at the San Fernando City Corporation (SFCC). However, the union’s president, Ainsley Matthews, says such accusations come with the territory and denies any of his members engage in any such action. The allegations came to light yesterday as San Fernando mother of three Jovanne Edmunds staged a one-woman protest at City Hall’s doors. Read more here

Cops Rescue Embassy Driver

A driver with the Chinese Embassy in St Clair, Port of Spain, was kidnapped early yesterday morning as he walked to work. He was rescued by police hours after a $28,000 ransom demand was made. Investigators could not say how many people kidnapped the Chinese national. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Imbert: Clico is safe

Medical Minister Colm Imbert said Clico is not being liquidated, contrary to a Trinidad Express headline yesterday. Imbert said it is Clico’s holding company CL Financial (CLF) that is being wound up. He made the clarification at yesterday’s post Cabinet press briefing at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s. He wanted to assure investors that no action is being taken against Clico, noting, “There’s a big difference between Clico and CL Financial.” Imbert took the opportunity to assure that Government had injected $23 billion (and counting) in the bailout of Clico and CLF. On the due liquidation of CLF he said, “We had to protect the public purse.” Asked about reports of the lowest official reserves since 2010, he assured that the country has nine months of import cover, comparing this to Barbados which has just about a month. He said the country’s annual foreign exchange needs are about US$7 billion, which can be funded from current reserves. Read more here

Green light for Life Fund case

The United National Congress (UNC) has been given the green light to pursue its lawsuit against the Children’s Life Fund Authority over its refusal to provide funding for treatment of two children suffering from the same genetic blood disorder. High Court Judge Nadia Kangaloo yesterday granted the Opposition party permission to pursue its judicial review claim against the authority after its application was unopposed by attorneys representing the Attorney General during a hearing at the Port-of-Spain High Court, Hall of Justice yesterday. Read more here

We are protecting taxpayers, says Imbert

The Government could not sit “idly back” and allow control of the CL Financial board and its companies to be taken away from it, in view of the over $23 billion of public funds used in the bailout of the failed conglomerate. This was the rationale provided by Finance Minister Colm Imbert as he explained the background to Government's decision to approach the court to have CL Financial liquidated. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Quality linked to competitiveness

The Bureau of Standards hosted its first stakeholder engagement workshop on development of a National Quality Policy on Tuesday 11 July, 2017 at the Bureau’s head office in Macoya. Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon, in delivering the feature address noted, “an effective National Quality System supports the continual improvement of the quality of products and services, both locally produced and imported. Improving the quality of our goods and services will result in amplified competitiveness in the market place, as producers would have been caused to innovate and produce at optimal levels.” Gopee-Scoon asserted that, “the National Quality Policy articulates the government’s intentions with regard to the development of the Quality Infrastructure in Trinidad and Tobago. This may involve changes to legislation, regulations and standards. Read more here

Govt seeks liquidator to block CLF moves

Government applied to the court last month to get a provisional liquidator for CL Financial (CLF) to block majority shareholders from trying to regain control of CLF companies at a July 26 board meeting where they planned to put more of their members on the board. Finance Minister Colm Imbert told yesterday’s weekly Government media briefing that the move would have given them control of the board and CLF companies since Government only had four members on the board. Detailing Government’s apparent legal attempt to block the move, he said yesterday’s Express headline that Clico was being wound up was incorrect because the action involved CLF, Clico’s parent company. He said the matter is before a judge who has to say if Government’s application for a liquidator has merit. Read more here

Young: Duke irresponsible 

Public Services Association (PSA) president Watson Duke has been accused of acting irresponsibly and causing panic among public servants. Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Stuart Young said yesterday that notwithstanding the financial difficulties it faced, Government was committed to maintaining jobs. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

'No Robin Hoods' - Holness Declares Jamaica Is Only One Sovereign State

In declaring that criminal organisations are adamantly seeking to run a parallel state, Prime Minister Andrew Holness has once again come out in defence of the recently passed Zones of Special Operations Bill, voicing confidence that crime and violence will be reduced in areas where dons and criminals thrive as a result of its implementation. "The country does not need dons. You are no Robin Hoods, you are a pestilence on the people. The legislation is a signal that the Government, including the Opposition, is not prepared to cede one square inch of Jamaica to any criminal organisation. There is only one sovereign state in Jamaica and the Government will act to protect the sovereign state," proclaimed Holness yesterday during his keynote address at the opening ceremony of the Denham Town Restorative Justice Centre in West Kingston. Read more here

Former Bahamas minister charged with extortion and bribery

Former Bahamas minister of the environment Kendred Dorsett was charged in a Magistrate’s Court on Thursday with extorting $120,000 from Johnathan Ash. Dorsett was also charged with accepting bribes in the same amount. He was charged with four counts of extortion, four counts of bribery and one count of misconduct in public office. It is alleged that Dorsett committed these crimes between March 1 and May 9. Before the charges were read, the former minister sat in court with his eyes closed and his hands folded. He pleaded not guilty to all charges and was remanded to prison. Dorsett’s attorney, Wayne Munroe, intended to apply to the Supreme Court for bail on Thursday. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

How to win a friend and influence a President

Some world leaders have decided that when dealing with President Donald Trump, flattery will get you everywhere. So France laid on sumptuous gastronomy, in a restaurant billed as "infused with dreams and magic"inside the Eiffel Tower. They provided a tour of Napoleon's tomb and made Trump guest of honor at a Bastille Day parade with marching bands, tanks and flyovers. "Thank you for the tour of some of the most incredible buildings anywhere in the world. That was a very, very, very beautiful thing to see. Thank you," Trump approvingly told his host, French President Emmanuel Macron, earlier Thursday. Read more here

London acid attacks: Teenager arrested

A teenager has been arrested after acid was thrown in people's faces in five attacks over one night in London. Two moped riders attacked the victims over 90 minutes in Islington, Stoke Newington and Hackney on Thursday. An eyewitness said he heard a victim, who he believed was a delivery driver, "screaming in pain". One victim suffered "life-changing injuries". Police said they were looking into whether moped riders were targeted so their bikes could be stolen. Hackney resident Jon Moody said he was watching TV when he heard screaming and ran to the window. Read more here

 

14th July 2017

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