Daily Brief - Friday 2nd June, 2017

NEWS

Where’s Marcia

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard, SC, says before he can exercise his powers under Section 90 of the Constitution as it relates to 53 cases now in abeyance by the elevation and subsequent resignation of former chief magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar, he needs to know her status. As the controversy surrounding Ayers-Caesar rages on, Gaspard objected to the cases being aborted by acting Chief Magistrate Maria Busby Earle-Caddle and restarted from the beginning. Gaspard’s request for official acknowledgement of Ayers-Caesar’s judicial status came as his stated position was ventilated, for the first time, in the Eighth Magistrates Court yesterday, where 39 of the part-heard cases came up for case managing by Earle-Caddle. Read more here

Court chaos

A group of murder accused nearly rioted at the Port-of-Spain Magistrates’ Court yesterday, on learning that their nearly completed matters may have to re-start. Some of the accused have spent over five years awaiting adjudication. Three of the men, Nigel “Dufu” Mayers, Miguel Roberts and Nick “Skinnies” Noriega, were forcibly removed from the holding cell of the Port-of-Spain Eighth Court after they began cursing. The trio, who are charged with murdering a shopkeeper at her parlour seven years ago, never stood before acting Chief Magistrate Maria Busby-Earle Caddle to be told that their matter would have to re-start. After being taken into a holding cell by Court and Process Branch officers and being freed of their handcuffs, the men became agitated and started shouting expletives. Read more here

Lawyers vote against CJ and JLSC

Lawyers have voted overwhelmingly in support of calling for the resignation of Chief Justice Ivor Archie and members of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission (JLSC). Read more here

 

POLITICS

Kamla: bpTT find, fruit of PP incentives

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has congratulated energy company bpPTT on the announcement of successful finds in two exploration wells, Savannah and Macadamia, and has described the finds as the “fruit” of decisions taken by her administration. She said the previous administration had introduced wide ranging incentives for exploration and the decision by BPTT to drill these exploration wells was stimulated by that package of fiscal incentives. She reported that these incentives included the 100 per cent accelerated capital allowance for exploration and incentives for developmental drilling. She pointed out that at the time the People’s National Movement administration was “highly critical of these incentives” but these incentives are the “very ones allowing what is happening to take place”. Read more here

Young: PM right to call for Almagro to go

T&T was right and within its place to call for the general secretary of the Organisation of American States (OAS) Luis Almagro to be changed. This was the view of Stuart Young, Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, as he responded to calls by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley for the removal of Almagro. Rowley on Wednesday called for Almagro to be changed because of the “very derogatory manner” in which he engaged Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro. Rowley said T&T had registered “strong objections” to the behaviour of Almagro who had accused Maduro of carrying out a coup after the country’s Supreme Court took over the functions of the opposition led congress. Read more here

Port scanners to be activated ‘once legal issues sorted out’

Scanners will be activated at the ports once legal issues are sorted by the Attorney General's office, says National Security Minister ­Edmund Dillon. In response to questions from Opposition Senator Wade Mark at the Senate sitting yesterday at the International Waterfront Centre, Port of Spain, Dillon also disclosed that investigations are ongoing with respect to the discovery of firearms and ammunition at a courier company in El Socorro. Read more here

  

BUSINESS

Gas find good for TT

Two former energy ministers from opposing sides of the political divide have described bpTT’s natural gas as good news which would provide much needed revenue to the country and support for the downstream sector. Former People’s Partnership energy minister Kevin Ramnarine cautioned that the population should not expect immediate production from the discovery as this would take several years before the field becomes operationalised. “These two wells will take a couple years before they come into production as this requires infrastructure to be put down, so I would temper expectations of the population by saying this might take two to three years before we see natural gas from Savannah and Macadamia fields coming into the natural gas market,” Ramnarine said. Read more here

Denny’s forced to close its doors 

Strapped for foreign exchange to import food supplies for its menu, the local franchise holder of Denny's in Maraval has been forced to close the restaurant's doors. Denny's, a 24-hour US restaurant chain, was opened in January last year. Local franchise holder, Grand Slam Restaurants, announced the immediate closure in a statement Wednesday. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Judge Only - Jury Trial For Persons Accused Of Human Trafficking May Be Scrapped

The fate of people who are accused of the heinous crime of trafficking in persons may soon be decided by a judge only, in court, as the Government takes steps to amend the law to revamp jury trials for such offences. Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice Carol Palmer divulged yesterday that the Cabinet has approved a bill to amend the Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Suppression and Punishment) Act to have a judge alone trying human-trafficking offences. Human trafficking has been a serious problem in Jamaica, with the 2016 Global Slavery Index estimating that in 2015, some 5,800 persons were trafficked in Jamaica. Read more here

Rare CARICOM unity defeats anti-Venezuela declaration at OAS

In a rare display of regional unity, the 14 independent member states of the Caribbean Community (CARCOM) effectively blocked the adoption of a declaration by the Organisation of American States (OAS) criticising the Venezuelan government. Representatives of 33 out of the 34 member countries from the western hemisphere attended the specially called ‘consultation’ of foreign ministers on Wednesday at the OAS headquarters in Washington to discuss the ongoing crisis in Venezuela. Venezuela did not attend and announced in April that it would withdraw from the regional body after a majority of its members had voted in favour of holding the meeting. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Trump defies globe to claim a political win

In the end, Donald Trump stayed true to himself. Beset by appeals from foreign leaders and corporate titans to put the planet first, he pulled out of the Paris climate accord Thursday. It's a decision that upheld his political instincts, nationalistic economic vision and dark view of a predatory world with one unified goal -- to rip America off. In fact, the move to leave the climate pact, endorsed by almost 200 countries worldwide, is one of the few international promises Trump has actually followed through on. The White House choreographed Thursday's announcement as a triumph for Trump after a turbulent debut to his presidency in which he has struggled to translate the populist, anti-elite promises of his campaign into real change and has railed against the limits of his office. Read more here

Resorts World Manila: At least 36 bodies found at casino complex

At least 36 bodies have been recovered from a casino and hotel complex in the Philippine capital, Manila, where a lone gunman opened fire overnight. Most of the dead suffocated in thick toxic smoke after the man set fire to casino tables, officials told the BBC. The gunman, whose nationality is not yet known, began shooting in the casino in Resorts World Manila in the early hours of Friday morning. Police said he later killed himself by setting himself on fire. Authorities initially said there were no casualties, but appear to have only found the bodies while sweeping the complex after the gunman's body was recovered. Read more here

2nd June 2017

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