Daily Brief - Thursday 10th August, 2017

NEWS

Social media bashes text’s holiday omission

Social-media discussions were set ablaze Tuesday night following news that a Social Studies textbook, published by a local author, did not include any details on Emancipation Day or Indian Arrival Day but had information on Halloween and World Water Day. The book, Social Studies Made Simple (Infant I) written by Vidya Maharaj and published by Maharaj Publishers, is intended to be used by students entering the primary school system in the new school year which begins in September. Speaking with Newsday, Veer Maharaj, editor and son of the author, stated that the omission was an unintentional mistake. Read more here

UDeCOTT faces Point hospital project walkout

Austrian contracting firm VAMED GmbH & CO KG (VAMED) is threatening to pack up and leave T&T, if it is not paid at least 10 million Euros (TT$79 million) for its work on the Point Fortin Hospital. The T&T Guardian understands the Austrian contracting firm gave the ultimatum to Urban Development Corporation of T&T (UDeCOTT) officials yesterday, after an initial request for 30 million Euros (TT$238.2 million) for the next three months of work was declined. The T&T Guardian was told the 30 million Euros is to cover incremental monies to continue the project. Read more here

Teen was almost beheaded, says Alexandrov

Nineteen-year-old Darrel Man­singh was almost beheaded with a cutlass, an autopsy found yesterday. The autopsy was done by forensic pathologist Dr Valery Alexandrov at Forensic Science Centre, St James. Alexandrov said the teenager was tied up and chopped with such force that his windpipe, throat and spinal cord were severed. Read more here

 

POLITICS

I visit Police Academy

Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries Clarence Rambharat yesterday admitted that he visits the Police Training Academy, “as part of my ministerial duties and not to have fun.” Speaking after a sod-turning ceremony for an $8 million car park at the Debe wholesale market yesterday, Rambharat said he visits the Academy as part of a personal safety and security training programme for government ministers, MPs and senior public officials. “A question was asked of me whether I have been to the Police Academy and the answer is ‘yes’, I have been to the academy for two reasons. I think every minister, maybe every MP and a lot of people who are public officials are put through a process of personal safety and security training and in some cases you are required to check in with the police station,” Rambharat said. Read more here

Caricom holds emergency meeting on Venezuela crisis

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and Foreign Affairs Minister Dennis Moses have had “robust discussions” with Caricom chairman and Prime Minister of Grenada, Dr Keith Mitchell and other Caricom members in a special emergency meeting regarding the current crisis in Venezuela. The meeting, which took place on Tuesday, lasted for some three hours. A brief statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday said the leaders, who had participated in the video conference call, had engaged in “varied and robust views,” adding that the meeting “centred on promoting dialogue among stakeholders within Venezuela geared towards resolution of the political and social challenges in that country.” Read more here

Kamla: PM must account for ‘scandal’

A police investigation is warranted in the “scandal of the highest order” surrounding the procurement of the Ocean Flower II, says Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar. In a release yesterday, Persad-Bissessar said the controversy reeks of mismanagement and corruption. She said it was not enough to simply cancel the contract, but Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley must account to the people and accept responsibility for this debacle. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

ANSA Merchant Bank reports 43 percent increase in profits

ANSA Merchant Bank Limited (AMB) has reported that its profit before tax (PBT) for the six month period ended June 30 increased by 43 percent to TT $164 million. For the same period last year, the bank recorded PBT of $115 million. Earnings per share improved by 41 per cent to $1.51 ($1.07 in 2016). Chairman of the bank, A. Norman Sabga, yesterday said, “All balance sheet financial metrics are solid with net assets increasing by nine percent to $2.2 billion.” He said shareholders would recall that in 2016, the bank announced several growth initiatives including the acquisition of Consolidated Finance Company Limited in Barbados (Consolidated Finance); the creation of a private wealth management business; expansion of its residential mortgage book and further building upon its investment capability. Read more here

Bhoe: Time to share the wealth

Opposition MP for Caroni Central Dr Bhoe Tewarie yesterday called for the distribution of land, homes and shares in public and private sector companies as he spoke before a packed Yara auditorium at The University of the West Indies (UWI) Mt Hope campus of the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business (GSB). An employee share ownership plan (ESOP) for both the public and private sectors would empower the “working class” and reduce the gaps among members of T&T’s social strata, Tewarie said. He was not the first, nor the only, veiled reference at the forum to the now infamous call for a boycott against the economically powerful one-per cent by Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) president general Ancel Roget. Read more here

  

REGIONAL

Significant progress evident in Dominica housing project

The Bellevue Chopin modern housing development project in Dominica has now entered an exciting stage where visitors and the intended residents can see real tangible progress being made, with new structures rising from the ground, and at last start to imagine that their dream of having a new permanent residence is taking on solid form. Funded entirely through the efforts of Montreal Management Consultants Est. (MMCE), the 340-home Bellevue Chopin development, part of the Petite Savanne Resettlement Programme in Dominica, is a ground-breaking scheme to re-house residents displaced by Tropical Storm Erika in 2015 and represents a model for future housing and infrastructure projects in the country. Read more here

Warning Shot - Patrick Powell Sentence Serves As Caution For Firearm Holders, Says DPP

Paula Llewellyn, the nation’s chief prosecutor, has declared that the prison sentence handed to businessman Patrick Powell should serve as warning to other license firearm holders. Powell was given a nine-month prison sentence, at hard labour, by Parish Judge Vaughn Smith yesterday following his conviction last month for failing to hand over his licensed Glock pistol and ammunition to police investigators. The offence is a breach of the Firearm Act. The weapon was requested in July 2011 amid a police investigation into the shooting death of Kingston College student Khajeel Mais. Powell was charged will killing Mais, but was freed after the prosecution collapsed. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

North Korea Guam missile strike plan 'ready by mid-August'

North Korea says a plan that could see it fire four missiles near the US territory of Guam will be ready in a matter of days. State media said Hwasong-12 rockets would pass over Japan and land in the sea about 30km (17 miles) from Guam, if the plan was approved by Kim Jong-un. It denounced Donald Trump's warnings of "fire and fury" and said the US leader was "bereft of reason". Read more here

Could Congress stop Trump from bombing North Korea?

President Donald Trump threatened North Korea with "fire and fury" Tuesday if Pyongyang doesn't stop threatening the United States. But can the President launch a military strike on his own? The Constitution may give Congress the ability to declare war, but in reality it has little ability to stop the President if he's determined to strike North Korea. That's because the President has his own authority as commander in chief to defend the country from threats, and in practice the Executive Branch has used that authority for a range of military actions.

10th August 2017

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