Daily Brief - Thursday 16th March, 2017


Anchor Around Neck

Days of searching for missing policewoman Nyasha Joseph ended yesterday when a Felicity fishermen, trawling for shrimp in the Gulf of Paria off Sea Lots, discovered her body stuffed head first inside a crocus bag. Joseph’s killer went to great lengths to try and conceal her murder and had it not been for Adrian Ramjattan and his uncle deciding to fish in that particular area of the sea, her body may never have been found. Speaking with Newsday yesterday, Ramjattan said as he looked into the water to see if shrimp were taking his bait, he saw a human leg still wearing a white slipper protruding from the bag which rested on the seabed. The 24-year-old woman, who joined the TT Police Service last November, had her hands tied behind her back and a stone secured in the knot; had two large stones and a steel anchor secured around her neck via a length of rope and had the right side of her face bashed in. Read more here

Nidco employee making $200,000 a month

A NIDCO employee was working for $200,000 a month and no one could explain what work that employee did to justify that salary. So said Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan in response to an urgent question in the House of Representatives yesterday, on whether 100 contract workers were likely to be sent home. Sinanan said in January 2017, Nidco (National Infrastructure Development Company) had engaged Personnel Management Services to conduct a manpower audit in the right-sizing of the State-owned company. He said their work is ongoing and a final report is still to be submitted. Read more here



Jennings-Smith, ‘deeply shaken’

Ministry of National Security parliamentary secretary Glenda Jennings-Smith, expressed great shock yesterday at the murder of PC Nyasha Joseph, speaking to reporters yesterday at the tea-break of the House of Representatives, at Tower D, Wrightson Road, Portof- Spain. Jennings-Smith, the Toco/Sangre Grande MP, is herself a former police officer. “I feel very sad and very shaken also,” said Jennings-Smith. “I know that as a young officer you are always excited about the job and if you notice she was working at a police station which is in a high-crime area, Morvant Police Station, which I have also worked in. Read more here

Dillon: Don’t lose hope with WPC’s murder

National Security Minister Edmund Dillon has urged the population to not lose hope and give up in the fight against criminals. He was responding to questions from the media on the murder of WPC Nyasha Joseph and the continuing spate of murders in the country. Asked what message he has for citizens who are reeling from Joseph’s murder and others, and may feel a sense of hopelessness, the minister responded: “I don’t think they should feel a sense of hopelessness because the police will not put their hands up in the air and give up the fight against crime and criminality in Trinidad and Tobago, and neither will I as Minister of National Security, neither will the Government of Trinidad and Tobago.” Dillon, as well as parliamentary secretary in the National Security Ministry Glenda Jennings-Smith, was speaking to the media during the Parliament’s tea break yesterday. Read more here



PM to visit Chile in May

Prime  Minister Dr Keith Rowley will visit Chile between May 29- 31, 2017, according to Ambassador Edgardo Riveros, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Chile. Speaking through an interpreter in Port-of- Spain on Tuesday, he said one of the main reasons for his visit was to finalise arrangements for Dr Rowley’s visit. The Prime Minister’s visit will be aimed at strengthening relations between the two countries which Vice Minister Riveros said were already very good. Vice Minister Riveros said trading relationships between Trinidad and Tobago and Chile were very important as 92 percent of the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) which Chile imports comes from this country. He said Chile imports more than US$550 million worth of LNG from Trinidad and Tobago, contributing to total trade of US$573 million between the two countries. He said there is a favourable trade balance largely because of the LNG imports, adding that Chile exports a few products to Trinidad and Tobago, in particular cellulose and has the capacity to export agricultural products as well. Read more here

Venezuela, T&T sign gas pact

T&T is one step closer to receiving gas from Venezuela’s Dragón field. Yesterday, Venezuela and T&T strengthened their energy cooperation in Caracas with the signing of a new gas export agreement. The agreement was signed by Venezuela’s Minister of Petroleum Nelson Martínez and Stuart Young, Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister. The agreement deals with the construction, operation and maintenance of a gas pipeline that goes from the Dragón Field located in the north coast of the state of Sucre, in Venezuela, to the Hibiscus Field in Trinidad. “Thanks to our gas power we are exporting to Trinidad and Tobago,” explained Martínez during the signing of the agreement, at PDVSA headquarters in Caracas. Read more here

Would you pay $350 for fish?

High fish prices have become the norm during the Lenten season. But would you pay $350 for five pounds of your favourite fish? King fish is being sold between $50 and $70 a pound at King’s Wharf, San Fernando. And fishermen predict the price will continue to skyrocket, maybe reaching $100 a pound. San Fernando Fishing Cooperative president Salim Gool said prices were the highest in recent times. “The price of fish usually goes up during Lent but it is not only that. We are experiencing a lot of problems in the sea and all of those are contributing to the high fish prices,” he said yesterday. Gool has called a meeting with fish vendors to discuss the issue on Saturday. Plenty problems
Kishore Boodram, president of the Claxton Bay Fishing Association, said fish vendors had no choice but to increase prices. Read more here



Tourism minister says opposition makes marketing Dominica very difficult

The challenge of marketing Dominica as a tourist destination is growing increasingly difficult says tourism minister, Senator Robert Tonge. Speaking on local radio this week, Tonge did not mince words when he condemned the opposition United Workers Party (UWP) for casting Dominica in such a negative light that discourages visitors from coming to the island. “You can well imagine even just during the Carnival the government increased the budget to make Carnival a bigger and better Carnival and it has been a success. Some persons have said this is one of the best Carnivals they have seen,” he said. “We know that there will always be certain shortcomings and we will work to fixing them but just imagine even Dominicans, even some Dominicans because of all the negativity that they heard, that there is rioting in the streets every day and looting, even Dominicans didn’t come to Dominica. They were scared. Or some persons whose parents wanted to come, their children said to them, ‘Hey, you know something, do not come to Dominica because what we’re hearing is just so negative we are not gonna send you to Dominica’.” Read more here

I'm Being Punished - Cop Exonerated In 'Death Squad' Case Accuses INDECOM Of Victimisation

Constable Collis Brown, one of the two policemen freed of murder in the so-called police death squad trial, has charged that he is being "punished" by the oversight body, the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM), because of his refusal to do "certain things". Brown, who is more popularly known as 'Chucky', and Corporal Roan Morrison were found not guilty of murder and wounding with intent by a seven-member jury yesterday after a near five-week trial in the Home Circuit Court in downtown Kingston. There are 10 other so-called 'death squad' cases before the court that involve allegations of murder, wounding and other criminal offences against police personnel who were attached to the Clarendon Division. Brown, who has been in custody since 2014, is facing two other murder charges. Yesterday's not guilty verdict was a bitter-sweet moment for the constable, who learnt hours earlier that his father had died. Read more here




Dutch election: Europe's far-right populists fail first test

Far-right populism in Europe failed its first test of 2017 when thenationalist firebrand Geert Wilders came a distant second in the closely-watched Dutch election. Conservative Prime Minister Mark Rutte claimed victory in The Hague Wednesday night, amid wild cheering and whistling from his jubilant supporters. "This night is a night for the Netherlands -- after Brexit, after the American elections -- where we said stop it, stop it to the wrong kind of populism," he said. Turnout was 81%, according to state broadcaster NOS, the highest in three decades. Long lines formed at some polling stations as voters turned out in droves. The election was widely seen as a test of populist right-wing sentiment in Europe, ahead of the French presidential vote in April and the German national election in September. Read more here

Trump budget: Rex Tillerson defends foreign aid budget squeeze

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has defended swingeing budget cuts to his own department proposed by President Donald Trump. Speaking in Japan, he said the level of state department spending in the past had been "simply not sustainable" and he willingly accepted the "challenge". If Congress backs the budget, and that is far from a done deal, the state department and USAID face cuts of 28%. Budget savings would benefit the military primarily. Environmental programmes, medical research and the Amtrak long-distance rail network would all lose out. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), the largest source of public broadcasting money in the US, would lose its funding completely. While Mr Trump's Republicans control both houses of Congress, segments of the budget plan are expected to face stiff resistance across the parties. The budget, known as a "skinny budget", will be limited to the $1tn portion of the $4tn annual federal budget that pays for US agencies and departments. Read more here



16th March 2017


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