Daily Brief - Monday 24th April, 2017


‘Draconian and heartless’

Driving with headlights lit and placards plastered on their vehicles, members of Ummah T&T together with other concerned citizens, yesterday launched an anti-property tax movement with a motorcade through the streets of Chaguanas. Several of the placards read - “Stop the Property tax”; “The Property tax is draconian and heartless” and “Government must ax d tax.” At about mid-morning, approximately 30 vehicles left the Pierre Road Recreation Ground in Felicity. Leading the motorcade was Ummah T&T leader, Imam Rasheed Karim. They drove throughout the Borough of Chaguanas and many residents cheered and shouted their support. Speaking at the start of the mortorcade, Karim said that their rights as law-abiding citizens were being trampled upon by the ruling People’s National Movement, saying that while they had to pay taxes, other persons who lived at HDC houses and were squatting on State lands, do not have to do so. Read more here

Policeman promises Enterprise criminals will be hunted

Criminals who have fled crime hotspot Enterprise in Chaguanas since the implementation of a heightened police and army presence in the past few months will be hunted in whatever parts they are currently hiding out in. This warning came from ASP Richard Smith, who is responsible for the Lion’s Gate project where soldiers and police officers have been deployed to work together in a bid to bring the area back to a sense of normalcy since the upsurge in crime and crime violence in recent times. Smith disclosed that the police and soldiers working in Enterprise have underlying techniques that they are currently employing to go after the criminals. Read more here

Couple killed

An Arima couple are now dead after the car they were in skidded off the Churchill-Roosevelt Highway in Mausica, flipped several times and threw both victims several feet into the air and into some nearby bushes yesterday morning. Initially, it was believed the couple's one-year-old daughter, Kaidee, was also in the vehicle at the time of the accident after a child's car seat was found at the scene, having also been thrown from the car. However, after several minutes of searching the area, police as well as fire officers received information that the child was not in the vehicle at the time of the crash, but was instead being cared for by a relative. Read more here



Help AG pass Marriage Bill

Co-ordinator of the Network of NGOs of TT for the Advancement of Women, Hazel Brown, yesterday called upon women’s organisations to do what they can to help Attorney General (AG) Faris Al-Rawi pass the Miscellaneous Provisions (Marriage) Bill 2016 in the Parliament. Brown issued this call when she spoke at the opening of a workshop being held by the Network, Gender and Child Affairs Division of the Office of the Prime Minister, Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) and other groups at Cabildo Chambers in Port-of-Spain. Telling her audience that there will be, “very opportune moments that will arise shortly,” Brown said, “The latest opportunity comes from the AG’s office. Read more here

Gopeesingh: ‘A new level of ineptness’

Former Education Minister Dr. Tim Gopeesingh has accused Education Minister Anthony Garcia of embarrassing the University of the West Indies (UWI) by prematurely announcing the selection of businessman Robert Bermudez as the new UWI Chancellor. He is also calling for Garcia’s removal as the Education Minister and for apologies to the UWI as well as the regional community. In a release, the Caroni East MP referred to it as a “horrible blunder” which he said reflected “a new level of incompetence by the inept minister.” Describing the announcement as a “terrible howler,” Gopeesingh said the matter had subjected the Keith Rowley administration, “to even more ridicule and derision.” Read more here

Moonilal: Govt wasting $$ on audits

The Government must reveal which company was paid some $10 million to audit the National Gas Company (NGC). This call for transparency comes from Member of Parliament for Oropouche East, Dr Roodal Moonilal. In a media release yesterday, Moonilal said the Government has spent over $20 million already searching State enterprises for possible corrupted practices under the United National Congress (UNC).
This wastage of taxpayers’ money, Moonilal said, is happening at a time “when contractors are still not being paid, schools are not being completed and ailing patients cannot access the Children’s Life Fund”. “The Government has so far paid $18.15 million and is due to dish out another $1.97 million – at a rate of $1 million a month – in its ceaseless attempts to uncover corruption in the State sector,” he said. Moonilal said that sum includes the $10 million NGC audit. Read more here



Minister talks trade with new Ambassadors

Minister of Trade and Industry Paula Gopee- Scoon met earlier this week with High Commissioner-designate to the United Kingdom Orville London, and Tracey Davidson- Celestine, Ambassador- designate to Costa Rica. Minister Gopee- Scoon and her executive team apprised London of priority areas in bilateral trade, business and investment with the United Kingdom as well as opportunities within the Commonwealth. London for his part reaffirmed his commitment to champion Trinidad and To- bago as a destination for investment and a partner in the trade in goods and services. Davidson-Celestine was also sensitized on the importance which Trinidad and Tobago attributes to its trading relationship with Costa Rica and other Central American countries to which the Ambassador will be accredited. Read more here

Enill supports Imbert: No choice but to bring back property tax

Former Minister in the Ministry of Finance Conrad Enill says Government has no choice but to re-introduce the property tax. Enill said that in a brief interview with the T&T Guardian yesterday as Government moves to implement the collection of the tax in the coming weeks. He said the Government’s revenue expectations for the “first quarter is down and that means for it to maintain goods and services to the population, there must be a revenue stream.” Arguing that property tax is accepted throughout the world, Enill said collection of the tax was deferred years ago when “we had higher revenues from the energy sector, but that is no longer available to us.” Read more here

First-quarter market review

This week, we at Bourse review the performance of the local equity market for the first quarter of 2017. Q1 2017 could be described as a period of resilience for Trinidad and Tobago stocks, while cross-listed stocks strongly advanced. We examine the three stock indices, as well as highlight some important factors investors should consider for positioning their portfolio. Read more here



Fourth Floor | 'Shotta' Students - Gangs Now Recruiting Members Straight From Classrooms

Gangs are menacing neighbourhoods all across Jamaica. Some gangs have targeted high schools to recruit the next generation of killers. This was revealed to a Fourth Floor panel, assembled to look at violence and its effects on society, particularly the threat to mental health. Why would a high-school student with the potential to receive a valuable education and to make a worthwhile contribution to society want to join a gang? One of Jamaica's foremost social thinkers, Dr Herbert Gayle, who has been studying gang behaviour in Jamaica and elsewhere in the Caribbean, knows the answer. "Young boys, in particular, are getting something from being in a gang, which is missing from their home environment. They get respect and they are given purpose," said Gayle, an anthropologist and University of the West Indies lecturer. And something else: they get nurturing and love from their "new" family. Read more here

St Lucia may launch prosecutions of extrajudicial killings

According to reports coming out of Saint Lucia, the authorities there may be preparing to launch prosecutions of those thought to be responsible for a number of alleged extrajudicial killings in 2010 and 2011 by members of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) during a highly controversial security initiative called Operation Restore Confidence (ORC). It remains to be seen whether the anticipated prosecution of those responsible, whether by the director of public prosecutions (DPP), or by a special prosecutor as indicated last year by Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, will simply be window dressing designed to create the perception of credible judicial processes and prosecutions or if it will actually bring to justice those responsible within the RSLPF for gross violations of human rights. Read more here



Article 308: Jordan scraps marriage loophole for rapists

A law which protected rapists from punishment if they married their victims has been scrapped in Jordan. The Jordanian cabinet revoked Article 308 on Sunday, after years of campaigning by women's activists, as well as Muslim and Christian scholars and others. The law had meant rapists could avoid a jail term in return for marrying their victim for at least three years. Its supporters said the law protected a victim's honour and reputation. 'A dream come true' But last year, it was amended so a rapist could only marry his victim if she was aged between 15 and 18 and the attack was believed to have been consensual. Read more here

France urged to reject Le Pen in presidential vote run-off

France's defeated political establishment has begun to rally against the far-right leader Marine Le Pen as she goes head-to-head against political novice Emmanuel Macron in the final race for the French presidency. As Le Pen celebrated the highest-ever voting tally for her Front National party, candidates knocked out in the first round began to endorse Macron, who ended his insurgent campaign with a result that confounded expectations. Read more here

24th April 2017


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