Daily Brief - Thursday 10th May, 2018

TTMA IN THE NEWS

Biz Day chambers’ expectations of Mid-Year Review

Timely disbursement of VAT refunds, re-introducing an export allowance, measures to tackle crime and reviving the Economic Development Advisory Board are on the mid-year review wish lists of the TT Manufacturers' Association (TTMA) and the Couva/Pt Lisas Chamber of Commerce (CPLCC). Business Day spoke with TTMA president Christopher Alcazar and CPLCC president Ramchand Rajbal Maraj prior to today's budget review in Parliament. The TTMA has long called for improved processing/payment times, so it comes as no surprise that "resolving the vexing VAT refund problem" topped Alcazar's list. Read more here

 

NEWS

Father of kidnapped teen may send children abroad

Yesterday marked 16 days since Port of Spain teenager Darrell Cuffy was kidnapped, and his worried father is now contemplating sending his three other children abroad to prevent what happened to his eldest son. Businessman Farrell Cuffy yesterday made a heart-rending plea to the kidnappers who snatched his son, to send him home in time for Mother’s Day on Sunday so that his wife Elizabeth could smile once more. Read more here

Cops must be trained in proper gun usage —Griffith

Last week Wednesday’s shoot out between two police officers has been criticised as “not poor quality officers” but “poor quality management.” This was the view of former national security minister Gary Griffith. Griffith, in an interview, blamed the hierarchy of the Police Service for not being able to “grasp the importance of providing officers with the proper training and tools needed to excel. Read more here

7 cops to face trial

Seven police officers have been committed to stand trial on the charge of misbehaviour in public office after a teenager was allegedly set on fire at the Princes Town Police Station. Read more here

 

POLITICS

All Eyes On Colm

Finance Minister Colm Imbert will today deliver his much-anticipated mid-year review of the 2018 Budget. This year, though, it’s not just a review of the half-way point of the financial year – it also marks the midpoint of the PNM administration’s term in office. Imbert has remained tight-lipped about what the country can expect – he declined to comment for this article – but hinted last Friday during the launch of the Export Import Bank’s (Eximbank) US$100 million facility for manufacturers, that there would be some “positive news” about the economy. Read more here

Shelve property tax as energy revenue rises

The Government should not institute the property tax since Finance Minister Colm Imbert recently said T&T has “turned the corner” and also projected “good news” in today’s mid-year Budget review, says Opposition Chief Whip David Lee. “He has painted a more positive outlook for T&T in recent weeks. Also, energy prices are better than before. If the situation is really good, Government should have no need to pursue the property tax and inflict further hardship on the public,” Lee said yesterday. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

TT’s energy landscape

Trinidad and Tobago has been involved in the petroleum sector for over 100 years and is the largest oil and natural gas producer in the Caribbean. However, by the early 1990s its hydrocarbon sector moved from being primarily an oil-based economy to a mostly natural gas-based sector with the construction of the LNG trains at Point Fortin. The energy sector accounts for around 32 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Read more here

Sod turned for $70m agri park

After a four-month delay, construction has finally started on a $70 million Agro-Processing and Light Industrial Park in Moruga geared at revitalising the agricultural sector. However, farmers say unless the severe labour shortage is addressed, there may not be adequate produce for processing. During the sod turning ceremony at Saunders Trace, Moruga yesterday, Trade Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon said the park will be completed by March next year. Five factory shells will be built and 18 lots prepared to accommodate businesses of all sizes. The parks will facilitate processing of fish, food, bakery products, pasta products, confectionery items and beverages. Read more here

Govt now controls 26% of bank

The Government now controls just over 26 per cent of Republic Bank from shares it received from distributions paid by CLICO Investment Bank-In Compulsory Liquidation (CIB-ICL) and its control of CLICO through the Central Bank. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Anti-Gang Boost - Parliament To Set Up Committee To Review Law

Acknowledging that Jamaica's crime problem is fuelled primarily by gang-related activities, Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang has indicated that Parliament will be asked to review the anti-gang law, formally titled the Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organisations) Act. "We are giving an undertaking to ensure that the select committee will be appointed not longer than two weeks from now. It is a matter that must be done urgently as part of the total fight against criminal activity," Chang told the House of Representatives yesterday following a statement on the recent gang feud in Grange Hill, Westmoreland, which claimed the life of seven persons, including two children. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Israel strikes Iranian targets in Syria in response to rocket fire

Israel says it has struck almost all of Iran's military infrastructure in Syria following an Iranian rocket attack. The Israeli military said 20 rockets were fired at its positions in the occupied Golan Heights overnight. It responded by launching what a spokesman called "one of the broadest aerial operations in recent years". There was no immediate comment from Iran, whose deployment of troops to Syria to back the government in the country's civil war has alarmed Israel. Iran has repeatedly called for an end to the existence of the Jewish state. Read more here

President Trump welcomes 3 Americans freed by North Korea

Under an American flag and dark night sky, US President Donald Trump personally welcomed home three American detainees Thursday morning after they were released from North Korea. The Americans -- Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak-song and Kim Sang Duk, also known as Tony Kim -- were freed Wednesday while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was on a visit to the North Korean capital of Pyongyang to discuss President Trump's upcoming summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Read more here

10th May 2018

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