Daily Brief - Friday 27th April, 2018

NEWS

Businessman’s son kidnapped

The 18-year-old son of a Port of Spain businessman was snatched by two kidnappers on Wednesday night as the teen drove his father’s black hatchback BMW along Collens Road in Fairways, Maraval. Darrell Cuffie remained unaccounted for up until yesterday. Anti-Kidnapping Unit officers under head of Port of Spain CID acting Snr Supt Ajith Persad and including Insp Herman Narace mounted a search for the victim. The teenager’s father, Farrell Cuffie, was in a state of disbelief and worry over what had happened. Read more here

New evidence can clear A&V—Ramesh

A newly-found supplemental internal Petrotrin report could vindicate A&V Drilling in the fake oil scandal, according to the company’s attorney Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj. Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Maharaj said he could not provide the media with a copy of the Supplemental Internal Audit report leaked to him as he wanted to be fair to the Government. Read more here

Three Tobago fishermen missing

Three Lambeau fishermen are missing at sea. The men — Lance Roberts, Ricardo Mohammed and Allister Graham — ventured out to sea on Monday around 3.30 p.m. from Lambeau beach but are yet to return. President of the Lambeau Fisherfolk Association, Sumattee Williams, said the fishermen were due to return on Tuesday afternoon. Read more here

 

POLITICS

TT Not A Refugee Camp

This country will not allow the United Nations (UN) or any other international body to convert it into a refugee camp, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said yesterday. He will also write a letter of complaint to the UN, about its local representatives, whom he said have misrepresented the facts pertaining to the deportation of 82 Venezuelan nationals last Saturday. The UN High Commission on Refugees alleged in media releases on Sunday and Tuesday, that among the group deported were asylum seekers who had registered and received their certificates from the UN and so should not have been allowed to leave without having their circumstances verified by the agency. Read more here

Darryl Smith probe delayed by two weeks

The public will have to wait two more weeks for the findings of a committee set up to find out what “new information” caused former sports minister Darryl Smith to be fired from Government. This was confirmed by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley at yesterday’s post-Cabinet media briefing at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s. The report from the investigative team was due Tuesday, but Rowley said he received a request for an additional two weeks for the report to be submitted. He said the investigating team needed time to interview some people who were out of the country and he granted the extension. Read more here

Couva Children’s Hospital to be a teaching hospital

The Couva Children’s Hospital is to become a teaching hospital run by The University of the West Indies (The UWI).This was announced yesterday by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Govt eyes more Aussie ferries for seabridge

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley says plans are afoot to obtain new ferries from Australia to replace the aged and malfunctioning vessels that have been serving the seabridge. During his visit to London for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting last week, Rowley said he held discussions with Australia Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull “with respect to any possibility of getting Australian help in procuring new ferries to replace the ferries that we have which now came from Australia.” Read more here

HDC, Govt take heavy blows

The Housing Development Corporation (HDC) and, by extension, the Government were dealt heavy blows at Wednesday evening’s public consultation for the proposed use of North Grove as a mixed development site. The HDC was represented by managing director Brent Lyons and agronomist Dr John Alleyne who was shouted at when he tried to explain the reason for the use of arable land for houses. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Huge Fees, No Mail! - AG Says Arrangements With Postal Agents To Deliver Mail Uneconomical

A performance audit of the public postal service, which was conducted by the Pamela Monroe Ellis-led Auditor General's Department, revealed that the arrangements with postal agents to deliver mail were uneconomical as the agents handled little or no mail but were paid retainer fees totalling $41 million during the 2016-2017 financial year. The tax dollar appeared to be going down the proverbial drain, with the auditor general pointing out that of 260 postal agents, 58 did not receive or dispatch any mail during financial year 2016-2017 but were paid sums amounting to $6.8 million. Another 95 agents each received and delivered fewer than 50 items of mail throughout the year, costing the Post and Telecommunications Department (PTD) $13.6 million in retainer fees for them to handle 1,606 items of mail, averaging $8,471 per item of mail. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

The Trump administration's scandals and embarrassments, in one place

Fifteen months after storming into Washington's "swamp," more than a few high-ranking Trump administration officials have been caught lazing, spa-style, in its gooey waters. The term "embattled" has now been thrown around so often in news coverage of Trump Cabinet secretaries' assorted foibles, it's practically been fused to the front of some of their titles. The President himself, perhaps for variety's sake, referred to Jeff Sessions in a tweet last year as his "beleaguered" attorney general. Some of the alleged (and confirmed) transgressions have been more damaging than others. The White House's handling of the Rob Porter scandal might have been its darkest episode, an ethical failure leavened by bureaucratic incompetence. Mostly though, the administration's scandals and embarrassments have been characterized less by furtive malfeasance than some kind of open disdain for (or ignorance of) basic ethical standards (or a lack of due diligence). Read more here

Koreas make nuclear pledge after historic summit

The leaders of North and South Korea have agreed to work to rid the peninsula of nuclear weapons after holding a historic summit. The announcement was made by the North's Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in of South Korea after talks at the border. The two also agreed to push towards turning the armistice that ended the Korean War in 1953 into a peace treaty this year. It comes just months after warlike rhetoric from North Korea. Details of how denuclearisation would be achieved were not made clear and many analysts remain sceptical about the North's apparent enthusiasm for engagement. Previous agreements that have included similar pledges to resolve nuclear issues and end hostilities were later abandoned after the North resorted to nuclear and missile tests and the South elected more conservative presidents. Read more here

27th April 2018

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