Daily Brief - Thursday 24th August, 2017

NEWS

Give us tax amnesty too

Members of the Tobago business community are appealing to Government to give them a tax amnesty and to speak with the Central Bank and Bankers’ Association to hold their hands on foreclosures. President of the Tobago Hotel and Tourism Association Chris James told the T&T Guardian yesterday that some business owners had already lost their properties and others have been forced to close because of ongoing problems. Read more here

Baby in Dump Murdered

Forensic pathologist Dr Valery Alexandrov says the baby girl found in a garbage bag at the Beetham landfill site on Tuesday was delivered full term and was alive when born. He said the baby was not born with any genetic abnormalities or any contributory potential disease but was left abandoned to die. In an interview with Newsday yesterday, Alexandrov said two tests which were seemingly important to prove the baby was born alive were a floating test of the lungs, and a gastrointestinal floating test. Read more here

Money Scarce

The Government’s ‘hardest task’ at present is finding money to pay its public servants, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley stated yesterday following a three-hour meeting with the Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM). Rowley stated in a media release that the Government is “borrowing to pay salaries” and it is difficult to talk about increases now. His statement followed Joint Trade Union Movement leader Ancel Roget’s remarks that trade unions were “disappointed” and “dissatisfied” with the meeting and its outcome. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Charles alleges schools in disrepair

Naparima MP Rodney Charles has named specific cases of school disrepair in his constituency and elsewhere to challenge Education Minister Anthony Garcia’s recent assertion that repairs are proceeding apace for all schools to reopen in the new school term. In a statement yesterday Charles urged Garcia and minister in the ministry Dr Lovell Francis to “come clean” on school repairs. Read more here

Banker takes up job as Public Utilities Minister

Banker Robert Le Hunte will today be appointed Minister of Public Utilities. His appointment will in effect reduce the workload Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, who had assumed the portfolio in June after Fitzgerald Hinds was reassigned as Minister in the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs. Le Hunte will take the oath of office at a ceremony at the Office of the President in St Ann’s today. Read more here

Duke swimming to T&T in ferry fiasco protest

Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Minority Leader Watson Duke intends to make good on his promise to swim from Tobago to Trinidad in protest against the unreliable inter-island ferry service, as well as the deficiencies in the procurement process for the Ocean Flower 2 cargo vessel. During a news conference in Tobago yesterday, Duke said the swim is scheduled for Monday and will start at the Scarborough Fishing Facility. He said he was fed up with the sea bridge dilemma and is ready to take action if nothing is done to rectify the issues affecting Tobagonians. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Angostura makes two executives redundant

Two Angostura execu­tives—executive manager, legal, Lyn Lopez; and executive manager, human resource, Shane Ram—have left the company after ­being told their positions were made redundant as a result of a corporate ­restructuring exercise. Read more here

FIU director and Securities and Exchange Commission CEO meet

Susan Francois, director of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and other members met recently appointed chief executive officer of the Trinidad and Tobago Securities and Exchange Commission (TTSEC) Hadyn Gittens on August 21 to discuss the reporting and sharing of key information related to compliance and inspections in accordance with a memorandum of understanding signed by the FIU and the TTSEC in May 2014. The meeting also discussed the statutory requirements of the supervisory authorities in relation to anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism among other matters. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Region on alert over the spread of 'red eye'

Several Caribbean islands have reported outbreaks of conjunctivitis at health facilities and medical practices. “The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) is currently monitoring the situation and we want to urge persons to take the necessary precautions to prevent and reduce the spread of this illness,” said Dr Virginia Asin-Oostburg, director, Surveillance, Disease Prevention and Control. Read more here

Citizenship firm denies involvement in Grenada passport allegations

Attorneys acting for citizenship consultants Henley & Partners have denied that the firm had any knowledge or involvement in an alleged scheme to obtain a diplomatic passport from the government of Grenada for a Ukrainian businessman in exchange for a payment of US$1 million. Specifically, Henley & Partners assert that a purported copy of a wire transfer for such a sum, ostensibly to the Wells Fargo account of Henley Global in Singapore, is "clearly bogus", "faked" and "created maliciously". Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Exclusive: Top Trump aide's email draws new scrutiny in Russia inquiry

Washington (CNN)Congressional investigators have unearthed an email from a top Trump aide that referenced a previously unreported effort to arrange a meeting last year between Trump campaign officials and Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to sources with direct knowledge of the matter. The aide, Rick Dearborn, who is now President Donald Trump's deputy chief of staff, sent a brief email to campaign officials last year relaying information about an individual who was seeking to connect top Trump officials with Putin, the sources said. Read more here

Brazil opens vast Amazon reserve to mining

Brazil's government has abolished a vast national reserve in the Amazon to open up the area to mining. The area, covering 46,000 sq km (17,800 sq miles), straddles the northern states of Amapa and Para, and is thought to be rich in gold, and other minerals. The government said nine conservation and indigenous land areas within it would continue to be legally protected. But activists have voiced concern that these areas could be badly compromised. Read more here

 

24th August 2017

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