Daily Brief - Monday 13th March, 2017


I care for her

The 39-year-old man who has been assisting police since the disappearance of 22-year-old PC Nyasha Joseph on Thursday morning, is insisting that he does not know of her whereabouts. The suspect, a labourer of Sea Lots, Port of Spain, told police that he cares deeply for Joseph and was looking forward to spending today with her and their daughter who turns four today. Newsday understands that two officers at the North Eastern Task Force, who shared a close relationship with Joseph, were also questioned by Homicide officers. Police are also exploring new information that a hit could have been put on Joseph because she may have witnessed illegal activities in Sea Lots on Thursday. A man who police identified as a gang leader is also expected to be questioned in connection with Joseph’s disappearance. Yesterday her mother, Paula Guy, made a stirring plea to persons with information on her daughter’s whereabouts to come forward and assist. She said when her daughter left her Marie Trace, Morvant home on Thursday, she said she was going out to do police business and that was the last time she saw her. Guy said Joseph would never leave home without contacting the family and she is fearful that something sinister has taken place, but is praying and hoping that her daughter is found alive and unharmed. Read more here

Breakdowns affected rice processing—NFM

National Flour Mills yesterday admitted that its rice mill “suffered breakdowns in the drying process in the last few months” but denied over 200 tonnes of locally produced rice was left to rot. In response to the Sunday Guardian lead story—Rotting Rice...$400,000 in paddy left to waste at NFM mill—the company said given the age of the Carlsen Field rice mill, spare parts were “sometimes difficult to find and can result in delays in effecting repairs.” The latest breakdown at the mill took place last Friday with the conveyor belt which is expected to be repaired today, the company said. Yesterday’s story claimed that the mill had been non-functional since November last year. Farmers claimed they have been delivering supplies and are being paid $2,000 a tonne for their produce which has been left idle in a growing heap. Read more here



Don’t suggest scandal where there is none

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has called on the Opposition to join the Government and focus on improving and expanding the country’s relationship with the United States, this country’s most important trading and national security partner, instead of trying to suggest a scandal where there is none. In a letter to the Editor, Rowley said the Opposition has presented a case against the Government hiring a Washington lobbyist but its speculations are misleading the public about the nature of a relationship with lobbyists and the lobbying firm hired by the Government, theGROUP DC. He said the need to improve relationships with the US is particularly important now during a period of instability in energy prices, while also considering the country’s need for economic diversification. Read more here

Garcia hails new Lego competition

Encouraged by the success of NIHERST’s FIRST LEGO League National Championship Education Minister Anthony Garcia is hoping that the number of students and schools participating will increase by 100 per cent next year. He was speaking at the closing ceremony of the event at Trinity College East, on Saturday. Garcia said he was proud of the innovations he had seen given that it was the first time that the competition had been held in the English-speaking Caribbean and T&T had the honour of being its host. “Today, I want to specially recognise the schools and participants that have risen to the challenge and participated in this competition,” Garcia said. Read more here

‘A sign of dictatorship’

Three United National Congress (UNC) senators are describing the Government's bid to abolish trials by jury without their support as the sign of a dictatorship. The Miscellaneous Provisions (Trial by Judge Alone) bill is expected to be piloted by Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi on Tuesday. Read more here



Carnival week off not good

The Employers Consultative Association (ECA) believes that a week-off for Carnival is not in the best interest of the country’s national development. Due to poor turnout at schools, the Ministry of Education has begun the discussion about giving students the week off. In a statement, the ECA said that in the short term, such a decision may address the issue of poor turnout at schools but it questions the long term implications this will have on the children’s psyche. “Already, the worrying loss of productivity in our workplaces (of which our schools are not exempt), due to the Carnival “holidays” seems to get going a full week before Carnival, kicking off with various marquee fetes and ending with “Fantastic Friday”. The productivity of our student and teacher population is severely compromised with a mixture of tired and sleep-deprived individuals whose concentration can hardly be thought of as optimum,” the ECA stated. Read more here

CDB launches country strategy for T&T

The Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), in partnership with the Trinidad and Tobago government, has formally launched a country strategy for the twin island republic, which proposes financial support of US$436.7 million for the period 2017 to 2021. The strategy was launched last week in Scarborough, during which the CDB outlined the programme of support. “CDB recognises Trinidad and Tobago’s potential for transformative economic and social development. Today marks the beginning of a focused five-year programme that has been strategically designed to support improvement of the country’s competitiveness, promote good governance, and drive environmental sustainability,” said Patricia McKenzie, the CDB vice-president for Operations. Read more here

FCI reports lower earnings

This week, we review the performance of FirstCaribbean International Bank (FCI), Scotiabank Trinidad and Tobago Ltd (SBTT) and Scotia Investments Jamaica Ltd (SIJL) for the quarter ended January 2017. FCI experienced a dip in net Interest Income among other declines. SBTT benefitted from higher net interest income, which positively impacted its Earnings per Share. SIJL continued its diversification strategy, as it aims to become less reliant on net interest income. We take a closer look at the performances as well as provide a brief outlook. Our full review of SBTT and SIJL’s performance is available on our website at www.bourseinvestment.com. FCI reported earnings per Share of TT$ 0.142 for the quarter ended January 2017, down 12.5 per cent (TT$ 0.02) from TT$ 0.163 earned in 2016. Read more here



Surinam Airways chooses Embraer for fleet renewal

CEO of Surinam Airways (SLM), Robbi Lachmising, told Luchtvaartnieuws this week that a decision on SLM’s fleet renewal is almost finalized and the Embraer-E series is the top choice to replace its three aged Boeing 737-300s. On the mid-Atlantic route, the Dreamliner 787 or the Boeing 777 will replace the existing Airbus 340. Lachmising did not reveal how many aircraft will be added to the fleet. SLM has been contemplating two to three. The alternative plan is to upgrade to the Boeing 737-700. However, aviation expert, Tomas Chlumecky, recommends that the airline upgrade to more modern aircraft to improve its product and allow for future expansion. He recommends the newer Boeing 737-800 or Airbus 321 with a range to NYC and Toronto, which would give SLM the opportunity to expand its network to those cities at any time. Read more here

Hoodies Off - Levy Cries Foul As Clarendon Cops Target Young Men Sporting Face-Hiding Sweatshirts

A move by police in Clarendon to target young men wearing hoodies (sweaters with a covering for the head and ears) for increased searches and questioning has been described by at least one human rights advocate as "discriminatory" and "profiling". Head of the Clarendon Police Division Superintendent Vendolyn Cameron Powell had said that the drive to stop and search young men wearing hoodies was part of efforts to combat crime in the parish. She also questioned why anyone should need to wear hoodies in Jamaica's tropical climate. But yesterday afternoon, human rights advocate Horace Levy, the executive director of Jamaicans for Justice, lashed out at the move to target men wearing hoodies. "There is no right (on the part of the police to implement such a strategy) to me. Just because there are some crimes being committed by guys with hoodies, you are to start searching every hooded guy? It's a style and a matter of self-identification!" Levy told The Gleaner. Read more here



Brexit: Scottish leader seeks UK spit as EU divorce looms

The first minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, said she would seek approval for a new independence referendum for the country next week. Sturgeon said it was clear that the UK was heading for a "hard Brexit" to the detriment of Scotland, and that Sottish voters deserved a choice of remaining in the European Union as part of an independent nation. Her announcement came as the British government prepared to fire the starting gun of leaving the European Union. Read more here

Scottish independence: Nicola Sturgeon to ask for second referendum

Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed she will ask for permission to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence. Ms Sturgeon said she wanted a vote to be held between the autumn of 2018 and the spring of the following year. She said she would ask the Scottish Parliament next week for permission to request a Section 30 order from Westminster. The move would allow a fresh legally-binding referendum to be held, if consent is granted. Speaking at her official Bute House residence in Edinburgh, Ms Sturgeon said the people of Scotland must be offered a choice between a "hard Brexit" and becoming an independent country. Read more here





13th March 2017


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