Daily Brief - Friday 4th August, 2017


Fright Flight

Major and sustained turbulence, minutes before American Airlines (AA) Flight 2713 landed at Piarco International Airport, led to 30 passengers being treated at the airport with three being sent to the Arima District Hospital for further treatment on Wednesday night. Weeping passengers described the flight as the most frightening experience of their lives. Panic broke out, thousands of feet in the air, when the turbulence caused the aircraft to shake and rattle. Most of the injuries were for minor bumps and bruises while the three who were sent to Hospital, were all discharged after being medically examined. At 9 pm, pilots contacted the Air Traffic Controller tower at Piarco International Airport to advise that they had experienced severe turbulence while en route from Miami to Port of Spain and were requesting medical crews to be on standby to render assistance when the aircraft lands. Read more here

New website for forested and protected areas

People seeking to find information about forested and protected areas within T&T can log on to the new national website in order to learn more about the projects and activities aimed at preventing biodiversity loss and promoting environmental preservation. Currently being administered by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) on behalf of the Government, the four-year project which is just about half-way completed is intended to be the main repository of information on forests and protected areas. The website—www.protectedareastt.org.tt—will initially provide profiles of six pilot sites in which the current project is focused. Read more here

Permell: Name-calling unbecoming

Chairman of the CLICO Policyholders' Group Peter Permell said yesterday Finance Minister Colm Imbert's description of him as being a “mouthpiece” was “derogatory and demeaning”. Permell said it was “rather unfortunate and regrettable” that Imbert, as a representative of the Government, resorted to name-calling to make his point by referring to people who raised legitimate concerns on behalf of groups they represent as “mouthpieces”. Read more here



Shareholders wrong on Tobago lands

Finance Minister Colm Imbert yesterday said claims by shareholders that two separate land acreages in Tobago are worth $960 million and $867 million respectively, are wrong. Imbert refuted the shareholders’ claims at the post-Cabinet news conference at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s. He said the figures for these lands were contained in the Project Rebirth report and the contents of that report have been proven to be unreliable. Imbert said in that report, “there is no valuation for these parcels of land.” Regarding the Buccoo Estate, where the proposed Sandals Beach resort is to be built, Imbert said CLF subsidiary Home Construction Limited hired Terra Caribbean in 2014 to do a valuation on these lands. Read more here

State objects to hearing during court vacation 

Attorneys represen­ting the Office of the Attorney General have objected to the High Court being convened during the vacation period to hear an application filed by Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar on behalf of a police officer who was injured on the job 11 years ago, but to date has not been compensated for his injuries. Even though the Privy Council in London, England, ruled two years ago that the officer, Fazal Ghany, was entitled to compensation, the State is yet to set up a compensation committee to facilitate that payment. Read more here



Economic commission projects .3% growth for TT

The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) is working with Trinidad and Tobago to develop a new trade policy which will focus on industrialisation and high-value manufacturing. This, according to Sheldon McLean, co-ordinator in the economic development unit at ECLAC’s subregional headquarters for the Caribbean, I Chancery Lane, Port of Spain. The policy is intended to assist with the diversification of the economy. McLean made the disclosure in response to comments on ECLAC’s Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean delivered to diplomats and representatives of business organisations invited to a presentation yesterday.The report was delivered by ECLAC’s Executive Secretary, Alicia Barcena, speaking from ECLAC headquarters in Santiago, Chile. Read more here

TSTT makes $48.5m profit

The Telecommunications Services of T&T (TSTT) is reporting a profit after tax of $48.5 million for the year ended March 31, 2017. Chairman Emile Elias, in his statement accompanying the audited financial statements, said the profit for the year ended represented “a significant turnaround” in the company’s financial performance over the previous year, where it made a loss of $300 million. “These accomplishments were made in the face of disruptive changes in the telecommunications industry both locally and globally and in the competitive and economic environment in which TSTT operates,” Elias said. Read more here

Former CCJ judge to chair UTC

Finance Minister Colm Imbert announced yesterday that Cabinet has agreed to appoint retired judge of the Caribbean Court of Justice Rolston Nelson to be the new chairman of the Unit Trust Corporation (UTC). Speaking at the post-Cabinet news conference at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann's, yesterday Imbert said Nelson replaces Krishna Boodhai, whose two-year term of office began on August 1, 2015 and ended on July 31, 2017. Imbert thanked Boodhai for his service, but in brief remarks, did not name him. Boodhai tendered his resignation as a director of Angostura, effective April 24 and from the board of CLICO in May. Read more here



I'm Here To Win - Bolt Looking Forward To Giving Jamaica Great Birthday Present

The beginning of the end. That's what this evening's IAAF World Championships men's 100m heat represents for iconic Jamaica sprinter Usain Bolt, who will close the lid on an unmatched career with his final individual race this weekend at the London Stadium. Bolt and his legacy have been the highlight of the discussions and promotion around the championships. Track and field's golden boy is turning the final pages of a story of glitches, gold, and glory that not only captivated the world, but changed the sport forever. For his part, Bolt simply wants to get on with it, labelling this, his final 120 or so strides and 30-odd seconds as "just another championship". Read more here

Ritz Carlton to operate luxury resort in St Lucia

Ritz Carlton, the luxury hotel subsidiary of Marriott International, on Thursday signed an operating agreement with Range Developments and the government of Saint Lucia to operate the planned new resort development at Black Bay on the beautiful southern tip of the island.  Ritz Carlton has 91 luxury hotels and resorts in 30 countries and territories, including six in the wider Caribbean: Aruba, Cayman Islands; Mexico, Puerto Rico (2); and USVI. The agreement was signed on behalf of Marriott/Ritz Carlton by Alejandro Acevedo, regional vice president of Marriott International; Mohammed Asaria, vice chairman of Range Developments; and Saint Lucia Prime Minister Allen Chastanet. Read more here



Australia terror suspect 'planted plane bomb on brother'

A terror suspect in Australia tried to smuggle a bomb on to a plane by planting it on his unsuspecting brother, say Australian police. The plan was one of two alleged terror plots recently uncovered by authorities, who made several arrests across Sydney on Saturday. The suspects were allegedly aided by the so-called Islamic State (IS). The other plot involved building and setting off a device that could release toxic gas in a public enclosed space. Police said the plans had been "completely disrupted". What is claimed about the 'bomb plot'? Read more here

As investigation intensifies, Trump crows to crowd

"Are there any Russians here?" With that mocking cry, delivered from the bosom of an adoring West Virginia crowd, President Donald Trump offered the most explicit glimpse yet of how he plans to cope with the spreading net of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. "Most people know there were no Russians in our campaign, there never were. We didn't win because of Russia, we won because of you," Trump said at a raucous campaign rally. The President offered a political argument -- not a legal one -- for why the Russia story was "a total fabrication" on a day of dizzying revelations about the probe that heaped fresh pressure on his beleaguered White House. Read more here

4th August 2017


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