Daily Brief - Friday 26th May, 2017

NEWS

Start Over

All 53 preliminary inquiries left unresolved by former chief magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar will restart from the beginning. And already there is discontent over this decision. A brief statement from the Judiciary’s Court Protocol and Information Manager Alicia Carter-Fisher yesterday said “consensus” was reached at a meeting on Wednesday between key stakeholders to have all 53 matters restarted de novo (a fresh).’ Acting Chief Magistrate Maria Busby-Earle Caddle will preside over all indictable cases, while all summary matters will be taken over by an assigned magistrate at the Port of Spain Magistrates’ Court. All other Eighth Court matters which were not started will be managed by Earle Caddle. The judiciary statement said priority will be given to the 53 matters which will be actively case managed using the new Criminal Procedure Rules (CPR) of 2016, “having regard to the hardships already experienced by the incarcerated, accused on bail, victims, witnesses and other stakeholders within the system.” Read more here

Litterbug held by off-duty cop

A man caught dumping garbage in a public area in Debe by an off-duty policeman has been ordered to do 50 hours of community service. In default, Antonio Soogrim, 20, will have to pay a $1,500 fine or serve three months in jail. “This a serious offence,” Magistrate Kerianne Byer told Soogrim when he pleaded guilty in the San Fernando Fifth Court. Soogrim, of La Romaine, spent the night in the San Fernando Police Station after he was arrested and charged by Sgt Krishna Bedassie. The police prosecutor in the San Fernando Fourth Magistrates Court.  Read more here

Fired Caroni Green CEO claims $1.5m in lawsuit 

Former chief executive officer of Caroni Green Ltd (CGL) Sharma Lalla has initia­ted legal action against the State after his contract with the company was cut short when the company ceased ope­ration last month. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Young: Rowley reminds us of costs

Prime Minister (PM) Dr Keith Rowley constantly tells his ministers to ensure they follow guidelines on spending public funds, Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) Stuart Young said at yesterday’s post Cabinet media conference at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s. On the heels of questions of spending by Sport Minister Daryl Smith and Tourism Minister Shamfa Cudjoe on a Tobago trip and a telephone bill respectively, reporters asked if yesterday’s Cabinet meeting saw the PM warn ministers about overspending. Young replied that there was no specific conversation yesterday, but that the PM generally reminds them. Read more here

Smith gives report to PM

The report, well placed sources said, was submitted to Rowley yesterday morning prior to the meeting of Cabinet. And even as the PM contemplates Smith’s future, there is now word that an e-mail witch-hunt in the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs to find the person or persons who leaked the information on the trip has turned up empty handed. iBlog’s Sharmain Baboolal, who exposed the weekend trip to the Magdalena Grand in the first place, yesterday produced emails between acting permanent secretary in the ministry Natasha Brown and information communication manager Andre Hanief. Read more here

Imbert: Ministry not in contempt of court over property tax

The Ministry of Finance is not in contempt of court when it tells property owners who wish to submit valuation return forms that it (the ministry) will accept and process those forms. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

ANSA Merchant defies the odds

ANSA Merchant Bank was able to increase its net operating income by 8 per cent for the year ending December 31, 2016—even though the local economy contracted last year. The profit before tax also increased from $297 million in 2015 to $322 million in 2016, for a year-over-year increase of 8.4 per cent, which is the second highest in its history. According to the chairman’s report, despite the cyclical nature of economies which move from boom to bust cycles, T&T’s strengths go beyond its natural resources and so T&T’s well-educated workforce, its stable political environment and civic mindedness are values that give ANSA Merchant Bank the optimism for the future despite the “day-to-day vagaries of the market.” ANSA Merchant Bank held its annual general meeting (AGM) on Wednesday at the Radisson Hotel, Port-of-Spain. Read more here

Ex-NP CEO successful in lawsuit dismissal appeal 

Former chief executive officer of fuels distributor National Petroleum (NP) Richard Callender has successfully challenged the dismissal of his wrongful termination lawsuit which was thrown out by a High Court judge in 2013. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

'Wayward' Rape - Chuck Questions Whether Expanding Definition Renders Term Meaningless

Definitions of rape are becoming "wayward", Justice Minister Delroy Chuck has argued, suggesting that, perhaps, it is time that Jamaica removes that designation from the books and captures it under a general category such as sexual assault. He threw out the suggestion yesterday after hearing Children's Advocate Diahann Gordon Harrison's recommendation that the definition of rape be changed to include protection for boys. Under Jamaican law, rape is the penetration of the vagina with the penis without consent. Read more here

CBI developer funds school meals programme in Dominica

Hundreds of children in Dominica are being helped by a school feeding programme funded by citizenship by investment (CBI) specialist and developer Montreal Management Consultants Est (MMCE). MMCE is paying for healthy snacks and lunches provided to hundreds of primary school children on the island to prevent mothers keeping their youngsters away from school due to a lack of proper school meals. The scheme is being facilitated by the Melissa Skerrit Foundation, which has been set up to improve the lives of disadvantaged communities across Dominica, and a restaurant in Roseau, Pops Rotisserie and Grill, has been engaged to provide delicious and healthy snacks and meals for children. These are delivered to their school teachers to distribute. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

FBI Russia investigation looking at Kushner role

The FBI's criminal probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election is increasingly touching on the multiple roles of senior White House adviser Jared Kushner on both the Trump campaign and the Trump transition team. Points of focus that pertain to Kushner include: the Trump campaign's 2016 data analytics operation; his relationship with former national security adviser Michael Flynn; and Kushner's own contacts with Russians, according to US officials briefed on the probe. There is no indication Kushner is currently a target of the probe and there are no allegations he committed any wrongdoing. Read more here

Egypt Coptic Christians killed in bus attack

Gunmen have attacked a bus carrying Coptic Christians in central Egypt, killing at least 23 people and wounding 25 others, state media report. The bus was heading towards the Monastery of St Samuel the Confessor in Minya province, about 220km (140 miles) south Cairo, when it came under fire. No group immediately said it was behind the attack. But Islamic State (IS) militants have targeted Copts several times in recent months, and vowed to do so again. Two suicide bombings at churches in the northern cities of Alexandria and Tanta on 9 April left 46 people dead. Read more here 

26th May 2017

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