Daily Brief - Friday 30th June, 2017

NEWS

Puff N’ Stuff Owner Freed

Puff n’ Stuff bakery owner Gregory Laing was back home with relieved relatives last night after he was dropped off at the side of the Beetham Highway yesterday at 5 pm. Laing was snatched outside his bakery in San Fernando at 3 am. A $270,000 ransom was paid in two installments which led to his release. Last night police and soldiers were still in the Beetham Estate which was locked down for several hours, after calls from the kidnappers to Laing’s relatives were traced to that area. No arrest was made up to press time. After being released, Laing was taken by police to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex in Mt Hope. Obeying specific instructions, a male relative dropped off $30,000 along a track in Phase 1, Beetham Estate at 8 am. On dropping off the money, persons in the track instructed the relative to, “stand by for another call from us.” Hours later, the relative drove to Barataria and dropped off a bag containing $240,000 on the pavement near TATECO (Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission) Credit Union. At 5 pm, Laing was freed. Read more here

Remove illegal ramps

Home owners and business operators in western Trinidad have been warned to desist from constructing illegal carriageways/driveways and installing metal vehicular ramps as the Port-of-Spain City Corporation could soon be embarking on action to remove the structures. Persons found to be in breach of the law can face a maximum fine of $5,000, plus an additional $500 thereafter, for each day the offence continues. Pleading for the corporation to take action now, St James East Councillor, Jameel Bisnath, said it is time that errant law-breakers be made an “example.” Read more here

Mom in a state, mad at the world

The mother of 13-year-old Videsh Subar who was murdered on Wednesday is “in a state and mad at the world right now”. A relative said Veena Subar, an insurance company worker, was planning to stay at home on Wednesday but decided late to go to work, “so right now she only studying what could she had done differently that day”. The relative, Chandrakhan Koon Koon, spoke to the Express outside the Forensic Science Centre in St James yesterday where post mortems on the bodies of Subar and his caregiver, Rose Mohammed, 57, were done. The two were found dead at Mohammed's Ajim-Baksh, Malabar, Arima home. Read more here

 

POLITICS

PM: No difficulty with appointment

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley says Marlene McDonald was cleared by the Integrity Commission and he has no difficulty in reappointing her to his Cabinet. McDonald replaces Fitzgerald Hinds as Public Utilities Minister with Hinds now a Minister in the Ministry of the Attorney General. At the post-Cabinet press briefing yesterday Rowley said Mc- Donald was first appointed to the Cabinet in 2015 and it was then when people were making “disturbing allegations.” He said there was one particular block of allegations which caused him to ask McDonald to remove herself as Housing Minister, since it dealt with how she conducted herself at that ministry. Read more here

Move to block Nicole’s candidacy

Legal moves have been initiated against the Congress of the People (COP) giving the party until today to halt the candidacy of Nicole Dyer-Griffith in the party’s July 9 leadership election. If not, court proceedings will commence to secure this, according to a pre-action protocol letter from attorney Alvin Ramroop to COP↔Leader Dr Anirudh Mahabir and COP↔general secretary Clyde Weatherhead. It was sent on Tuesday. Responses were sought from them by yesterday but a requested extension shifted that deadline to today. Griffith -Dyer is contesting the poll along with Carolyn Seepersad- Bachan and Sharon Gopaul- McNichol. Read more here

16 more crime scene investigators coming

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said yesterday the Cabinet has taken the decision to hire 16 more crime scene investigators. He was speaking at yesterday's post-Cabinet media briefing, held at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann's, “That money could have gone to something else, but given the level of criminal conduct and the demand for crime scene investigators, we can't rely on the 15 that we currently) have, because they are not sufficient,” he said. He said he hoped that time would bring returns, in the form of more successful investigations and more detections and arrests. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Cops demand new allowances from CPO

The Chief Personnel Officer has responded to the salary proposals of the Police Social and Welfare Association by enquiring of the Association’s rationale for new allowances being proposed. Some of the allowances for the period 2014 to 2016 affects officers at the Inter Agency Task Force, Guard and Emergency Branch, community policing, Financial Intelligence Bureau, Sergeants and Inspectors in charge of stations, police assigned to Government Ministers, Professional Standards Bureau, officers sitting on tribunals, motorcyclists, Breathalyser Technicians, Detectives Polygraph Examiners. These include officers in the First and Second Division, the Association and the absorption of Special Reserve Police. Read more here

T&T ranked 14th for resource governance

T&T scored 64 out of 100 points in the 2017 Resource Governance Index and ranked 14th out of the 89 assessments undertaken in the 81 countries surveyed. Sherwin Long, head of the T&T Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (TTEITI), said T&T was one of the better performing countries in terms of score. “We scored 64 out of 100. Out of the Enabling Environment we scored 71 out of 100, Revenue Management was our weakest performance and we scored 57 out of 100. We fell short in Revenue Management because of national budgeting fiscal rules and open data restrictions ,” he said yesterday at the launch of the 2017 Governance Report at the Ministry of Energy’s offices at the International Waterfront in Port-of-Spain. Read more here

18 estate police officers sent home

Eighteen estate police officers attached to Nestlé Trinidad and Tobago's Estate Police Department have been sent home. Nestlé T&T confirmed yesterday that due to economic challenges it was forced to outsource security services to international firm G4 Security Limited, resulting in the positions of the 18 officers becoming redundant. “Because of the economic situation we were looking at our operations and made a decision to outsource the security department,” Nestlé's corporate communications manager Denise D'Abadie told the Express yesterday. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Bush War - PNP, JLP In Row Over Who Benefited More From Clean-Up Programme

Most of the work under the controversial debushing programme last year was carried out prior to the local government election constituencies represented by the Opposition People's National Party (PNP), according to a report by the Office of the Contractor General (OCG). But in its response, the PNP, which called for the probe, contended that its constituencies benefited more because of the "brazen attempt to bribe PNP voters". "The OCG report clearly lays the basis for further investigation of charges of corruption and misappropriation of public funds." The ruling Jamaica Labour Party, though, has dismissed that, saying that the OCG's report "did not find any corruption in the programme". The Opposition had accused the Andrew Holness administration of using the $600-million project to "buy" support for November's municipal elections. Read more here

Guyana and Suriname foreign ministers to attend OIC meeting in Cote d'Ivoire

The foreign minister and vice president of Guyana, Carl Greenidge, and his counterpart from neighbouring Suriname, Yldiz Pollack-Beighle, will travel to Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, to attend the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) 45th Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) meeting, which begins on July 10 under the theme “Session of Youth, Peace and Development in a World of Solidarity”. The two Caribbean Community (CARICOM) foreign ministers will join over 50 other foreign ministers from predominantly Islamic countries and most from Africa to witness Uzbekistan passing the chairmanship of the OIC to the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire. Neither Guyana nor Suriname has formal diplomatic ties with Cote D'ivoire or most of French West Africa. Most of these countries are members of the Islamic bloc. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Trump travel ban comes into effect for six countries

People from six mainly Muslim countries and all refugees now face tougher US entry due to President Donald Trump's controversial travel ban. It means people without "close" family or business relationships in the US could be denied visas and barred entry. Lawyers took up positions at US airports, offering free advice. But there was no sign of the chaos that affected travellers when the first version of the ban was brought in at a few hours' notice in January. That is because the executive order does not affect people who already have valid visas or green cards. The Department of Homeland Security said it expected "business as usual at our ports of entry". Read more here

German lawmakers vote to legalize same-sex marriage; Merkel votes no

German lawmakers voted by a wide margin to legalize same-sex marriage Friday, a landmark decision which came just days after Chancellor Angela Merkel dropped her longstanding opposition to a free vote on the issue. The bill gives homosexual couples in Germany the same rights as heterosexual couples, and will allow same-sex couples to marry and jointly adopt children. It passed by 393 votes to 226, with four abstentions. The bill is likely to pass through the Bundesrat -- Germany's upper house -- next week. The Bundesrat has previously approved legalizing same-sex marriage. Read more here

 

 

30th June 2017

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