Daily Brief - Monday 30th January, 2017


‘Uncle Sam’ Probes Murder

United States law enforcement officers are expected to visit this country soon to team up with local Homicide Investigation Bureau detectives to investigate the murder of an elderly woman who had American citizenship and who was among four persons slaughtered in separate incidents by criminals over the weekend. This was confirmed to Newsday yesterday by senior sources within National Security who said the US law enforcement agents will work with local police on the case of 73-year-old Cynthia Matthews who stabbed to death on Saturday afternoon. Matthews, a retired factory worker and mother of four, reportedly once lived in America and was the holder of a US Passport. She had returned to Trinidad upon her retirement and lived alone in Arima. Yesterday, Homicide Investigations Bureau officers informed officials at the United States Embassy, Marli Street in Port-of-Spain that an investigation had commenced into the murder of an American citizen. Read more here

Cops hold 5, seize drugs, cash in Tobago

Tobago police have arrested five people and recovered a large quantity of a narcotics and cash in the Plymouth area, following an all-day exercise last Friday. The exercise was conducted from 4 am to 3 pm in the village of Plymouth, which was locked down and houses and vehicles searched. A 66-year-old man was arrested for the possession of narcotics; a female labourer, 37, was arrested and charged for the possession of marijuana and a fisherman and unemployed 26-year-old woman were arrested and jointly charged for possession of marijuana and cocaine with a total street value of $650,000. Over $120,000 in TT currency and over $2000 US currency were also seized. Sources said the money was buried in the back of a house. Read more here

Trinis a Threat Too

A United States counter-terrorism expert has labelled Trinidad and Tobago as having more terrorists than the seven predominantly Muslim countries whose citizens have been banned by US President Donald Trump from entering the United States. The claims by Malcolm Nance were made during a talk show on American news network MSNBC on Saturday. Read more here



Rowley to Visit Cuba, Chile

This government sees muchas oportunidades (many opportunities) in Latin America and Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley is planning State visits to Cuba and Chile. This was announced on the weekend by People’s National Movement (PNM) PRO Stuart Young at the post-PNM general council media conference at Balisier House, Port-of-Spain, the first meeting for 2017. He reported that Rowley addressed the general council membership and spoke of the initiatives and successful negotiations between this country and Venezuela for the Dragon gas field. Rowley also said that the US $50 million revolving trade agreement between Trinidad and Tobago and the eastern coast of Venezuela has been continuing and local manufacturers continue to provide goods to that country. He also reported that Rowley had accepted an invitation from the Chilean president, Michelle Bachelet, for a State visit and they would have to work out when this would take place. “Because we see the hydrocarbon industry in Trinidad and Tobago and in particular what is taking place in Point Lisas over the many years with the fertilisers, the ammonia and the urea and a new market is opening up in South America and Chile is a gateway to that,” he said. Read more here

AG admits hands are tied by court system

“You cannot just string people up and hang them.” The growing public outcry for hangings to resume come as the murder rate soared to 53 for the year to date over the weekend. Al-Rawi said as AG he supported the death penalty as it was the law, but noted there was a convoluted court process which often times stymied the death penalty from being carried out. “The death penalty has not been carried out for many years because of the operation of delays. It is important to remember that the system included for the conviction process...after one is convicted at the Assizes, it then goes through a three-stage process of appeal,” Al-Rawi said, adding that this included the Appeal Court, Privy Council and then by way of petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Read more here

Garcia: Stop shutting down schools

Education Minister Anthony Garcia said there were those who were shutting down schools for the slightest of reasons. He appealed to them to instead work “hand in hand” with the ministry for the children’s sake. Garcia was speaking on Saturday during the Ministry of Education’s 2016 Secondary Entrance Assessment recognition ceremony of the top 200 students. The event was held at the National Energy Skills Centre (NESC) campus in Couva. Read more here



NGC considering natgas imports

Chairman of National Gas Company Gerry Brooks said the state-owned company is not ruling out importing natural gas to meet and satisfy demand by members of the energy sector. Justifying the option to look at importing gas, he said given the existing circumstances in which the country has faced gas curtailment for the past four years and slipping revenues, there was need to look at every possibility “reasonably.” Brooks was speaking last week, in an interview after a panel discussion, titled The Global Gas Economy, on Day One of the Energy Conference which was held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Dock Road in Port-of-Spain. Read more here

Growing Your USD Wealth

This week, we at Bourse consider several investment options available to individuals to make the most of their US dollars. In an environment that offers limited opportunities to generate positive investment returns in TT dollar assets, it makes sense to better utilise your US dollar holdings. Investors holding US dollars have the opportunity to boost returns, as well as diversify their holdings by asset class and geography. Read more here



'Ban Not Right' - Local Muslim Leader Blasts Trump; Jamaican Gov't Monitoring Travel Restrictions

A leader of the Muslim community in Jamaica has ripped United States President Donald Trump, declaring yesterday that the American commander-in-chief's decision to temporarily bar entry to nationals from "terror-prone" countries was an act of "undoubted discrimination". Sheikh Musa Tijani, director and head of education for the Islamic Council of Jamaica, told The Gleaner yesterday that he disagreed with the way the United States had gone about the implementation of the restriction. "When you (do something) like that, you are supposed to allow those who are already on their way to enter, so it will not cause embarrassment and disrespect. The way he did it, is not right, It's discrimination I have no doubt about it," said Tijani. In his first visit to the Pentagon since his January 20 inauguration, Trump on Friday signed a seven-page executive order titled 'Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States', making good on his campaign promise of "extreme vetting" of migrants and refugees. Read more here

Dominica PM denies involvement in Iran sanctions case

In a video address to the people of Dominica during a visit to Greece at 7:00 pm on Saturday (1:00 am Sunday in Greece), Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit denied an online report of his alleged involvement in a high profile Iran sanctions-busting case, in which three people have so far been arrested. The allegations of Skerrit’s involvement and possible investigation of such by US authorities followed the recent arrest in the Dominican Republic by Interpol and immediate extradition to Iran of Alireza Zibahalat Monfared, who holds a Dominica passport, amongst others. Monfared, an Iranian national, was wanted for embezzling billions of dollars in a massive Iran sanctions evasion operation. Monfared holds (or held) a diplomatic passport from Dominica, which he reportedly acquired through a personal relationship with Skerrit. Read more here



Resistance to Trump's travel ban mounts

President Donald Trump enters the second week of his presidency facing a growing political backlash -- with protesters in the streets, lawsuits mounting and his own party fracturing over his executive order banning travel to the United States from seven Muslim-majority nations. The resistance is offering an early and immediate preview of the dynamics of the Trump presidency: It tests the opposition's strength and durability, the White House's crisis management capabilities and Capitol Hill Republicans' willingness to stomach the controversy that accompanies Trump's efforts to fulfill his campaign promises. Meanwhile, stories of students, public figures and even a military translator who are suddenly unclear on whether they can enter the United States are setting social media ablaze. It all comes as the nascent Trump administration enters a critical period, with Trump still seeking Senate confirmation for most of his Cabinet nominees. Read more here

Quebec City mosque shooting: Six killed, eight wounded

Six people have been killed and another eight wounded in a shooting at a mosque in Quebec City, Canada, police say. Shots were fired at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre on Sunday night, where more than 50 people had gathered for evening prayers. One suspect was arrested at the scene and another was arrested nearby. Police do not believe there are other suspects at large. The Canadian authorities are treating the shooting as a terror attack. "We condemn this terrorist attack on Muslims in a centre of worship and refuge," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement. "Muslim-Canadians are an important part of our national fabric, and these senseless acts have no place in our communities, cities and country." Read more here

30th January 2017


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