Daily Brief - Friday 16th February, 2018

NEWS

I’m thankful he was found

Yesterday was her son’s 12th birthday, but it was a sad day for Pete-Ann Bartholomew, because of the news that her husband’s body had been found floating five miles off Cedros. Chevonne Bartholomew was an employee of Trindive Underwater Services and was inspecting an oil tanker in Chaguaramas when he disappeared on January 29. Read more here

Privy Council blocks A&V contract termination

The Privy Council has granted an injunction barring State-owned Petrotrin from taking steps to terminate its contract with A&V Oil and Gas over a billing scandal. On Wednesday, the United Kingdom-based appellate court granted A&V the injunction pending its appeal over a decision of the High Court to strike out its case against Petrotrin last month. A date for the hearing of the appeal is yet to be set. Read more here

Trini pupils escape US school massacre

Trinidad-born Nina De Lima was hoping her teenage son Cain was playing a prank on her when he called to say a gunman was roaming the halls at his school in Parkland, Florida on Wednesday. But it was no joke. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Tobago laws for Cabinet

Cabinet will today deal with legislation designed to give greater self-governance to Tobago. Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said so at a news conference at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s, after the end of an all-day Government retreat there yesterday. Rowley was optimistic this legislation will begin its journey today through Cabinet and onwards to Parliament in the near future. Read more here

Dillon denies Muslims being unfairly targeted

National Security Minister Edmund Dillon, who represented the Government alongside Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi in a meeting with Muslim leaders yesterday, says the meeting was to foster cooperation and collaboration between the protective services and the Islamic community. “It was really called to assure the Muslim community that the investigations and subsequent arrests of citizens of T&T was not targeting, in anyway, the Islamic community. In fact, it was based on criminal investigations,” Dillon said. Read more here

New ferry delayed in China

While the Port Authority of Trini­dad and Tobago (PATT) was up to yesterday waiting for mandatory inspections to be carried out on the T&T Express, Finance Minister Colm Imbert confirmed the Government's newly-­purchased passenger ferry, Galleons Passage, has been delayed in China. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Carnival: What We Don’t Know

For a country that boasts the “greatest show on earth,” TT does a phenomenally bad job at tracking the economic impact and return on investment for Carnival. There are almost no key economic indicators to track recent data about Trinidad Carnival, much less historical data—neither from the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Planning, or Ministry of Culture—or at least, if they exist, they are difficult to find. An internet search of “Central Bank Carnival Data” showed results for the Bank’s annual fete, not statistics. Historical records are basically non-existent. Read more here

Regional tourist arrivals, expenditure set records in 2017

In spite of the challenges of the past year, visitor arrivals to the Caribbean increased, hitting a new record both in terms of visitors and expenditure. This was revealed by Head of Research, Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), Ryan Skeete during yesterday's Tourism Industry Performance Review and Press Briefing, St. Michael's, Barbados. He said along with the 30.1 million stay-over visits, visitor expenditure had been estimated at US $37 billion. Read more here

Ferry passengers continue to fly

Caribbean Airlines (CAL) expects to add more flights to the domestic air bridge as it continues to accommodate passengers displaced by the withdrawal of the T&T Express from the seabridge. The airline advised yesterday that for the period February 14 to 16, in addition to its core schedule of 128 flights and 8,876 seats, it proposed to increase capacity on the airbridge by 28 flights, providing a further 2,764 seats. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

$31b Cut In Budget - Security And Roads Get Top Priority After Debt Payments

There are sizable increases for national security, education, tourism, the Office of the Prime Minister, and road repairs in the Government's Budget for the new fiscal year despite a $31 billion cut in the planned expenditure. The Government is projecting to spend approximately $773.7 billion in the new fiscal year, which begins on April 1. This is $31.8 billion less than the $805.5 billion budgeted for this fiscal year. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

From 'broken child' to mass killer

Long before he slaughtered 17 people at the South Florida high school he once attended, Nikolas Cruz had a disturbing way of introducing himself. "Hi, I'm Nick," he used to say, according to an acquaintance interviewed by CNN. "I'm a school shooter." Cruz posed with guns and knives in photos posted on Instagram and made a chilling online comment about a mass shooting carried out in New York this summer. Read more here

Syria conflict: US and Turkey agree to avert Manbij clash

The US and Turkey, whose forces are at loggerheads in northern Syria, have agreed to try to defuse the crisis. The Nato allies said joint teams would meet shortly to work through their diplomatic differences, including a dispute over the city of Manbij. Turkey has threatened to attack US-allied Kurdish forces in Manbij, whom they regard as terrorists. Pro-Turkish forces are battling the militia in nearby Afrin, across Turkey's southern border with Syria. Read more here

 

16th February 2018

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