Daily Brief - Friday 17th March, 2017


Woman Held

A 36-year-old Carenage mother of two was arrested by Homicide Investigations Bureau detectives in connection with the murder of policewoman Nyasha Joseph, hours after the officer’s decomposing body was pulled from the Gulf of Paria off Sea Lots on Wednesday. Sources said the woman is one of five believed to be romantically linked with a 36-year-old Sea Lots man said to be the prime suspect in Joseph’s murder. The woman was detained after it was learned she had an altercation with PC Joseph days before the officer left home and was never seen alive again. Up to press time, six persons — five men and the woman — remained in custody, kept at various police stations, assisting investigators in the murder case. On Wednesday night, hours after Joseph’s body was fished from the sea, a 24-year-old Sea Lots man surrendered to police after learning he was sought in connection with the murder. Sources said this suspect is a boat owner and may have key information on how Joseph’s body was disposed. Read more here

PM: Killers must pay the penalty

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has openly requested the assistance of former attorney general Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj to ensure the death penalty for convicted killers can be executed in T&T. Rowley revealed this during yesterday’s post-Cabinet news conference at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s, as he responded to a question on the death of WPC Nyasha Joseph, whose body was found at the Caroni River mouth on Wednesday, six days after she was reported missing. There have been increased calls by citizens for the death penalty to be enforced in the wake of a spiralling murder rate for the first three months of this year. The murder toll stood at 104 up to yesterday. Read more here

Two TDC workers given month to month contracts

Two Tourism Development Company (TDC) employees are being offered month to month contracts. According to letters of termination dated March 15, 2017, the employees are set to receive a salary for the two weeks from March 1 to March 15, gratuity for the period March 16, 2016, to March 15, 2017, and accrued vacation days as at March 15, 2017. The terminated employees yesterday confirmed that they were called by the TDC management and told their terminations were rescinded. Instead month to month contracts were offered. Chairman of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) John Julien yesterday confirmed that the employees received calls telling them that their terminations were rescinded but said until the new offer was on the table, the union would continue to treat this as a massive termination of employees. All former employees at the TDC were on contract, Julien said. Read more here



Dillon: 874 people found

National Security Minister Edmund Dillon on Wednesday said out of 930 citizens reported missing between December 2015 and January, “874 persons accounted for as of January 31, 2017.” Responding to a question on this issue in the House of Representatives, Dillon further stated that for the same period, there were reports of three persons being kidnapped. He added that none of these persons have been ac- counted for to date. Read more here

AG: US report vindicates T&T

Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi has welcomed the US State Department’s latest crime and safety report on T&T which he says vindicates against sensational foreign reports concerning this country and terrorism. The report states that terrorism poses a low threat to visitors to T&T and there are no indigenous terrorist groups in the country. “I’m very pleased they’ve confirmed by tone and content that T&T is positively managing allegations that it’s a feeding ground for Isis,” he said. The report identified crime as the principal threat to visitors and placed travel restrictions on US government officials/families for Laventille, Sea Lots, Cocorite, Beetham, the interior of Queen’s Park Savannah, as well as downtown Port-of-Spain, Fort George and all beaches after dark. Read more here

Fuad: Service weapon would have helped

Former health minister Dr Fuad Khan said yesterday the murder of 22-year-old WPC Nyasha Joseph marks another “great stain” on Trinidad and Tobago and has suggested had the slain officer been carrying a service weapon, she might have been able to defend herself from attack. In a statement yesterday, the Barataria/San Juan MP also extended condolences to Joseph's family and four-year-old daughter. Khan said while details of Joseph's death are unknown, her murder should also inspire reflection and review as to how to prevent such tragedies. “So this begs the question of whether she may have been better able to protect herself if she had been armed with her service weapon,” he said. Read more here



Holistic solution to fireworks issue

A senior police officer yesterday agreed that importation of fireworks should be suspended until authorities can determine how much fireworks have been imported into the country. However, while Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police Operations, Deodath Dulalchan agreed, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Na tional Security, Lydia Jacob, said what was needed was a holistic solution since some importers have large stocks which could probably last them as many as two to three years. The issue emerged as a Joint Select Committee on Social Services and Public Administration met at the Parliament building to hold its first inquiry on the issue of the safety of fireworks. Minister of Works and Transport Rohan Sinanan suggested the suspension of imports after the Ministry of National Security acknowledged that it did not know how much fireworks had been imported into the country. Read more here

MHTL resolution by month end

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said yesterday the government is hoping to arrive at a resolution of the natural gas supply problem that caused MHTL to close down two of its five methanol plants on the Point Lisas Industrial Estate by the end of this month. “We think we have a few flickers of light and probably by the end of this month we should have kind of resolution that would first stop any further closure of plants and secondly work towards a supply of gas that would see a reopening of the plants that have been closed down,” said Rowley at a news conference at Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s following the weekly meeting of Cabinet. MHTL closed two methanol plants at the beginning of this month when the company could not be assured of receiving enough gas from wholly state-owned National Gas Company, which is the national aggregator and distributor of natural gas to companies on the Point Lisas Industrial Estate and at the Atlantic LNG facility at Point Fortin. Read more here

It’s not suited for T&T 

Real estate valuator Mark Farrell has scrutinised Government's method of determining the tax rate property owners must pay under the current property tax regime. Read more here



Antigua-Barbuda rejects US narcotics control report

The government of Antigua and Barbuda said on Thursday that the 2017 US International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INSCR 2017) misrepresents the situation with regard to its citizenship by investment programme (CIP) and its anti-money laundering and countering financing of terrorism (AML/CTF) regimes. Contrary to the characterization in the report, Antigua and Barbuda operates a CIP that adheres to the highest international standards and best practices. Similarly, with regard to its AML/CTF regime, Antigua and Barbuda has been found by every competent and authoritative international body to be compliant with their rules. These include the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the OECD Global Forum on Tax Information Exchange. The government said it is, therefore, perplexed over the depiction in the INCSR 2017, particularly as it provides no evidence of its claims and assertions, many of which bear no attribution or source of information. Read more here

Bittersweet - Portia Bids Farewell To A Lifelong Love Affair And Incredible Journey Of Service

In what Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller described as a "bittersweet" contribution in her final Budget Debate presentation in Gordon House yesterday, the longest current serving political representative in Parliament said that despite moments of tears and regret, her relationship with the Jamaican people has been "a lifelong love affair". "I have seen the good, the bad, the happy, the sad, but above all, I have had an incredible journey of service to my beloved people and country," she shared with colleague parliamentarians. Simpson Miller, arguably one of the most popular political figures in Jamaica's modern political history, yesterday received resounding acknowledgement from members on both sides of the parliamentary divide as they stood in unison, banging the tables after the veteran lawmaker completed a wide-ranging presentation. Read more here



British spy agency GCHQ denies 'ridiculous' Trump wiretap claims

The United Kingdom's intelligence agency has strongly denied White House allegations it spied on US President Donald Trump on behalf of former President Barack Obama during the 2016 election. GCHQ, in a highly unusual public statement, said the claims repeated by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, were "utterly ridiculous" and ought to be ignored. Read more here

Tillerson: Military action against North Korea 'an option'

The US has said its policy of "strategic patience" with North Korea is over, and suggested it may decide to take pre-emptive military action. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the option was "on the table" if the threat from the North's weapons programme reached a level requiring it. During a visit to South Korea, he also said the US was exploring a range of new diplomatic and economic measures. He also defended the deployment of a US missile system in South Korea. The move has angered China, but South Korea and the US say the system is needed to defend against North Korea. Mr Tillerson spoke shortly after visiting the demilitarised zone which divides the two Koreas. He arrived in South Korea from Japan, where he said that 20 years of efforts aimed at persuading North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions had failed. Read more here

17th March 2017


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