Daily Brief - Thursday 11th May, 2017


TTMA: Quick action needed on forex shortage

The Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers’ Association (TTMA) says Finance Minister Colm Imbert must take “quick action” to ensure that manufacturers indeed receive foreign exchange priority. Responding to yesterday’s mid-year budget review by Imbert, the TTMA said the establishment of a dedicated foreign exchange facility will no doubt aid manufacturers in accessing much needed raw materials. Read more here



Killed After Murder

Was it poetic justice or was it suicide? This is what police were trying to ascertain yesterday as they continued investigations into a bizarre incident which saw an elderly man being killed when his car crashed head-on into a truck, moments after he fled the home of a female companion whom he murdered by slitting her throat. The body of mother of five and grandmother of six Toolsie ‘Tara’ Ramdeen, 47, was found at her Mayaro home by relatives who went to look for her after they failed to contact her over the phone to break the news that her companion Andrew Vasquez had just been in an accident. Relatives found Ramdeen’s body in the garage located at the front of her home off the Naparima/Mayaro Road in Bristol Village, Mayaro shortly after 12 noon. Two of her granddaughters, aged four and two, whom she was taking care of, were unharmed. Ramdeen, a single parent and Vasquez shared a tempestuous, on-again/off-again relationship that spanned 17 years, relatives revealed. She worked as a foreman with the Forestry Division at Mafeking Village. Vasquez was a pensioner. Read more here

Car thieves target malls, hospitals

Nissan sedans remain the number one choice for car thieves and shopping malls and hospital carparks are their main hunting grounds, according to the Police Service. For the first five months of the year as at May 6, there has been an increase in the number of vehicles stolen. A total of 289 vehicles were stolen this year while the comparable figure for last year was 232, representing a 20 per cent increase. Read more here



PM: No inquiry into Ayers-Caesar issue

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley yesterday declared Government will not be launching any commission of inquiry into the ongoing controversy in the Judiciary surrounding the appointment and subsequent resignation of former chief magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar as a High Court judge. Rowley made his first official comment on the issue when he responded to a question posed by Chaguanas West MP Ganga Singh in the House of Representatives. When Singh asked if a commission of inquiry would be established to look into the matter, Rowley said, “No. The Government is not considering an inquiry into the judiciary.” Singh asked how would Ayers-Caesar’s outstanding cases be dealt with. Read more here

Imbert looks to collect $$

Pay up time ahead - while there won’t be any gas price hike at this time, Government is in revenue collection mode on other fronts. And focus is on groups like CL Financial, which could owe Government - and taxpayers - up to $27.7 billion from the 2009 bailout of the former insurance giant Clico. Finance Minister Colm Imbert confirmed these developments in his mid-year review in Parliament yesterday. He detailed an overall mixed picture of T&T’s economic and financial status. While painting a more positive picture than previous reviews and saying T&T was transitioning to “a steady, sustainable growth path,” Imbert said Government’s focus will now be on revenue collection. Read more here



Govt, CDB sign grant agreement

Government and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) have signed a grant agreement to the tune of US$250,950 for financing of the Development of a National Quality Policy. The funding resources are provided by the European Union (EU) under the CARICOM Single Market and Economy Standby Facility for Capacity Building, 10th European Development Fund (EDF). This facility is being administered by the CDB. The project commenced on May 9, and is expected to be completed by August 17. At the launch of the National Aid for Trade Strategy on April 26, it was recognized that some of the major challenges that affect the ability of the private sector to participate effectively in international trade, related to problems associated with quality. Read more here

Petrotrin upgrade to cost $16 billion

Petrotrin President Fitzroy Harewood admits that the state-owned company is too reactive when it comes to safety saying it would cost approximately $16 billion over the next four years to repair Petrotrin’s aging infrastructure. He also revealed that two of the seven tanks that were deemed high risk, are currently being repaired. Speaking at a luncheon hosted by the Energy Chamber of T&T held at Cara Suites hotel in Claxton Bay yesterday, Harewood said Petrotrin planned to implement a company-wide asset integrity programme which may cost Petrotrin billions of dollars. The company came under fire after Tank 70, deemed high risk since 2003, ruptured on April 28, spilling high density crude in the Gulf of Paria. The oil, which reached the east coast of Venezuela has already killed thousands of fish, as well as sea turtles and birds. Read more here



No Locks, No Bars - 'Dudus' Moved To Low-Security Prison

Jamaican drug kingpin Christopher 'Dudus' Coke has been moved to a low-security prison with "no bars, towers, or locks" to complete his 23-year prison sentence in the United States (US). The US Bureau of Prisons confirmed yesterday that Coke had been transferred to the Fort Dix Federal Correctional Institution (FCI), located in the state of New Jersey. "I have him here," a spokesperson at Fort Dix confirmed to The Gleaner. The spokesperson, however, indicated that it was against government policy to disclose when Coke was transferred and why. Read more here

Arbitration claim filed against Grenada government over repurchase of Grenlec shares

On May 5, Grenada Private Power Limited (GPP), a 50 percent shareholder of Grenada Electricity Services Ltd (Grenlec), along with GPP’s parent company WRB Enterprises Inc. (WRB), filed a request for arbitration with the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). The purpose of this arbitration is to enforce the government of Grenada’s contractual obligation to repurchase the 50 percent Grenlec shareholding that the government previously sold to GPP. GPP submitted a formal share repurchase demand to the government on March 22, 2017, pursuant to the share purchase agreement (SPA) that the government, GPP and WRB entered into when the government’s privatised Grenlec in 1994. Read more here



24 hours of craziness in Trump's Washington

You couldn't make it up. Even by the often bewildering standards of the Trump administration, the 24 hours following the firing of FBI Director James Comey were baffling, surreal and at times impossible to process. In the confusing hours when up seemed down and down seemed up, the White House appeared to be defending Hillary Clinton, the FBI chief was among the last to know he was gone, and there was a cameo performance by Russian President Vladimir Putin in his ice skates. Read more here

Triple talaq: India top court reviews Islamic instant divorce

India's Supreme Court has formally opened hearings into a number of petitions challenging the controversial practice of instant divorce in Islam. The court said it would examine whether the practice known as "triple talaq" was fundamental to the religion. India is one of a handful of countries in the world where a Muslim man can divorce his wife in minutes by saying the word talaq (divorce) three times. But activists say the practice is "discriminatory". Many Muslim groups have opposed the court's intervention in their religious matters, although the move has the backing of the current Indian government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The sensitive issue is being heard by a multi-faith bench made up of five judges - a Hindu, a Sikh, a Christian, a Zoroastrian and one Muslim. The bench has combined several petitions from Muslim women and rights groups into one to examine the issue. Read more here

11th May 2017


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