Daily Brief - Thursday 23rd March, 2017


Missing Schoolboy Murdered

The search for missing 16-year-old Waterloo Secondary School pupil Jesse Beephan ended mid-morning yesterday when relatives found his body in a drain behind the school’s compound, with multiple head injuries. An autopsy done late yesterday evening at the Forensic Science Centre in St James, confirmed that Beephan was bludgeoned to death. Police said the killers used a cradle (a metal car part) and pig foot (a tool used in masonry or carpentry) to commit the gruesome crime. Police recovered both weapons yesterday behind the school compound which is surrounded by bushes. Investigators further believe the Form Four student was killed elsewhere and his body dumped in the drain still clad in school uniform. The body was lying face-up and his school bag nearby in the drain. The school is located at Raymond Jurawan Street off the Waterloo Main Road in Carapichaima. Read more here

Central mom missing

Chaguanas mother of one Sharlene Somai told relatives she was leaving home to buy a phonecard at a nearby parlour on Tuesday and has not been seen since. Somai, 23, of Petersfield Road, Chaguanas, left home around 7.30 pm and her brother Christopher, 22, says her family is now frantic to find her. She was last seen wearing flower-patterned shorts, a brown strap top and brown slippers. Christopher said his sister would never leave her four-year-old son. “She is accustomed going to the parlour for phonecards because it is about one minute walk from our house. When we noticed a little later in the evening that she had not come back, we started calling her cellphone non-stop but she never picked up,” he said. Read more here

Supermarkets heed call to rid Brazilian meats

Supermarkets have com­plied with the directive from the Ministry of Agriculture to remove all brands of corned beef, chicken nuggets and chicken patties imported from Brazil from their shelves. Head of the Supermarkets Association Dr Yunus Ibrahim said yesterday the pro­ducts were pulled from shelves of major supermarkets on Tuesday night. A check with several supermarkets on Char­lotte Street, Port of Spain, confirmed the pro­ducts had been removed. The recall was issued by Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat in reaction to investigations by Brazilian authorities which revealed a number of major meat processors in that country had been using rotten meat in their products, and bribing auditors and inspectors to keep silent. Read more here



Illegal occupiers face eviction

Housing  Minister Randall Mitchell yesterday made it clear any illegal occupier of any Housing Development Corporation (HDC) unit, will be evicted. Responding to a question from Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal, in the House of Representatives, Mitchell said the persons evicted from HDC units at Harmony Hall in Gasparillo on Monday, were not legal residents of those units. “They were illegal occupiers. Any illegal occupier at any HDC unit found to be in occupation, are liable for eviction,” he explained. Saying several of these buildings were declared structurally unsound and unfit for occupation, Mitchell disclosed, “The lawful occupiers were relocated between 2012 to 2014.” Moonilal was housing minister at that time. Read more here

PM’s wife at International Women’s Day celebrations: Men need to stand up against abuse of women

Sharon Rowley, wife of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, has appealed to men to stand up against domestic violence and abuse against T&T women, stating that this social issue was now plaguing society. Rowley made the call while delivering the feature address at the Unemployment Relief Women’s Programme to commemorate International Women’s Day (IWD) which was observed worldwide on March 8. Addressing a packed auditorium at City Hall, Port-of-Spain, Rowley in praising women who work tirelessly in the workplace and family circle, said not all women are treated fairly and many of them are subjected to violence and abuse which have been grabbing the headlines in the daily newspapers within recent times. Read more here

‘Sorry’ HDC squatters appeal for Govt help

Admitting they were wrong to illegally occupy condemned Housing Development Corporation (HDC) apartment buildings in Gasparillo, displaced families went to Housing Minister Randall Mitchell on Tuesday night seeking help. The families were evicted on Monday, their belongings placed on the roadway and warned to refrain from returning to the buildings at Harmony Hall. Read more here



AFETT celebrates women of substance

Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, Ayanna Webster-Roy, says although women are achieving in all aspects of life, more can be done to create an equitable space for women and girls. She said women make up 51 percent of the world’s population and are responsible for 66 percent of the world’s development. “Women possess only one percent of the world’s property and earn only ten percent of the world’s income,” Webster-Roy said. “These statistics are alarming, however I encourage you not to lose the faith.” Webster-Roy was speaking on Tuesday at Association of Female Executives of TT’s (AFETT) International Women’s Day Women of Influence Awards and Mentorship ceremony, at the National Academy for Performing Arts, Port-of-Spain. Read more here

Courts chairman on ease of doing business: T&T must address three major issues

The chairman of the parent company of Courts, the appliance and furniture retail chain, yesterday highlighted the role of government in creating an environment conducive to supporting business activities during economic downturn. Unicomer group chairman Mario Siman said there were three aspects of doing business in T&T that the government needs to address. “One is the tremendous inherited red tape that a business has to overcome to get business done. The second area of concern is the unavailability of foreign exchange. We are constrained by the shortage of US dollars to meet our needs. The third constraint that impacts some of us more than others is the limited availability of properties to expand our business at a reasonable pace and cost,” said Siman. Read more here

Sky will fall in if nothing done

Newly-elected president of the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce Ronald Hinds believes the country is facing not only an economic crisis, but a political and social crisis that is manifested through worsening crime. This includes increased violence against women. “We are grappling with declining economic activity, foreign exchange shortages and lowered business confidence,” he said yesterday. “On the political and governance front, we are seeing the near collapse of almost every institution of governance and service delivery by the State: policing and security, health services, transportation — including the inter-island air and sea bridges — and in fact, nearly every aspect of public sector service delivery is in crisis,” he said. Hinds, who was elected as president of the chamber yesterday, was delivering his inaugural speech during the business group’s annual luncheon at the Hilton Trinidad. Read more here



No Big Deal! Gov't Refuses To Roll Back Taxes, Opposition Walks Out Over 'Draconian' Tax Measures

There was high drama in Gordon House yesterday before members on the Government side alone passed the 2017-2018 Appropriations Bill or the Budget. The parliamentary opposition triggered a sudden uproar, which was followed by an angry walkout as they protested the $13 billion tax package, which the administration refused to roll back. In his closing Budget Debate presentation, Finance and Public Service Minister Audley Shaw said that the administration believed in the Budget, which was "cast within a framework of fiscal responsibility". Describing the Budget as growth-inducing, the finance minister said that it allowed for "opportunity and hope for the people of Jamaica". Read more here

CBI financed development paves way for future projects in Dominica

Citizenship by investment (CBI) programmes are not usually associated with creating new affordable housing communities. However, the Petite Savanne Resettlement Programme in Dominica is a ground-breaking scheme to rehouse residents displaced by Tropical Storm Erika in 2015. Funded entirely through the efforts of Montreal Management Consultants Est. (MMCE), the 340-home Bellevue Chopin development is being used as a model for future housing and infrastructure projects in the country. Accessing funding can often be a barrier to commissioning new infrastructure, housing or civil engineering projects and CBI programmes are a reliable vehicle to secure commercial investment from the private sector for public sector projects. Read more here



London attack: British-born attacker 'known to MI5'

The Westminster attacker was British-born and known to the police and intelligence services, the prime minister has revealed. In a statement to the Commons, Theresa May said he had been investigated some years ago over violent extremism but had been a "peripheral figure". "He was not part of the current intelligence picture," she said. Eight arrests - at least four of which happened in Birmingham - followed Wednesday's attack that left four dead. Those that died are PC Keith Palmer, Aysha Frade who worked at a London college, a man in his 50s and the attacker. Seven of the injured are still in hospital in a critical condition. A further 29 had been treated in hospital, Mr Rowley added. In the attack on Wednesday afternoon, a man drove a car along a pavement on Westminster Bridge knocking down pedestrians, creating panic and leaving dozens injured. He then ran towards Parliament where he stabbed PC Palmer who was unarmed. Armed police then shot dead the attacker in the grounds. Read more here

Snake + plane = A really good story to tell your friends

Where's Samuel L. Jackson when you need him? Passengers on a commuter flight in Alaska could have used some help from the "Snakes On a Plane" star because of, well, a snake on a plane. The snake was found Sunday during a 90-minute Ravn Alaska flight from Aniak to Anchorage, according to CNN affiliate KTVA. About 15 minutes into the flight, the pilots told the passengers there was a snake loose on the plane. (Now that's a nice way to start a flight!) "Almost right away after that announcement a boy who was sitting with his mother in the last row found the snake hidden behind his seat," passenger Anna McConnaughy told KTVA. "The flight attendant and the pilot took control over the situation right away." Read more here

23rd March 2017


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