Daily Brief - Thursday 25th January, 2018

NEWS

COSTAATT crippled by GATE policy

Former Tertiary Education Minister Fazal Karim has expressed concern over the fall in student enrolment at the College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts of TT (COSTAATT). In a media statement yesterday, Karim said changes to the Government Assistance for Tuition Expenses programme (GATE) by the Dr Keith Rowley administration was manifesting in “low student numbers across all tertiary institutions.” Read more here

Judgment reserved in highway lawsuit

High Court judge Kevin Ramcharan has reserved his decision whether environmental activist group Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) should be granted leave to pursue its lawsuit challenging the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) to approve the controversial Churchill-Roosevelt Highway Extension to Manzanilla. Ramcharan indicated that he would need time to consider the issue after hearing lengthy submissions on it during a hearing in the Port-of-Spain High Court, which continued well past 7 pm yesterday. Read more here

UWI gears up for hard times

Campus principal Prof Brian Copeland admitted yesterday that The University of the West Indies (UWI) has not been spared by the economic downturn. In a statement from the St Augustine campus, Copeland said the university has to “innovate” and “the current economic downturn that is affecting organisations, institutions and individuals region-wide has not spared UWI”. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Kamla tells AG: Let’s meet on crime

Lamenting 48 murders for 2018, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar yesterday invited Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi to meet urgently to find bipartisan ways to tackle crime. In a statement she said she had replied to the AG’s recent correspondence. Read more here

Petrotrin’s overtime bill stands at $22m

Despite facing a financial bind, the monthly overtime bill at State-owned Petrotrin is $22 million, while its annual wage bill to its 5,000 employees amounts to $2 billion. This was what was revealed before a Joint Select Committee (JSC) chaired by Finance Minister Colm Imbert on Energy Affairs, as senior management of Petrotrin was yesterday interrogated into the operations of the energy company at the ANR Robinson Room, Tower D, Port-of-Spain. Read more here

PM: Crime-fighting measures being blocked

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley expressed frustration yesterday over being blamed for the murders taking place in the country. He lamented that a crime-fighting measure— the installation of port scanners to prevent the inflow of guns — is being stymied because a union leader says it will affect workers’ scrota. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Banking sector addresses access to financing

Access to financing is sometimes difficult for players in Trinidad and Tobago's energy sector, particularly for smaller service providers, but First Citizens Group CEO Karen Darbasie says this is not due to a lack of willingness by local banks. "What we need to understand is that energy sector companies are very complicated – it's not like providing a mortgage on a house." Read more here

T&T, Venezuela near agreement on Energy

T&T and Venezuela have moved one step closer to finalizing the terms and agreement surrounding gas supply between the two countries. A release issued by the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) yesterday said that a meeting between a Venezuelan contigent and representatives from T&T took place yesterday to continue discussion on cross-border gas supply from the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Read more here

Key NCB director resigns

A senior director at NCB Financial Group (NCBFG) has resigned from the Jamaican company’s board in the midst of its controversial US$400 million attempt to take control of Trinidadian insurance company Guardian Holdings. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

I Meant It! - PM Remains Steadfast That J’cans Should Not Sleep In An ‘Oven’

Often reminded, and sometimes lambasted by his political opponents for failing to fulfil his election promise to make Jamaicans sleep with their doors and windows open, an emotional Prime Minister Andrew Holness yesterday refused to back down from that commitment. Last year, 1,616 Jamaicans died violently, and up to January 20 this year, more than 100 persons have been killed. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Rohingya crisis: US diplomat quits advisory panel

Veteran US diplomat Bill Richardson has resigned from an international panel set up by Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi to advise on the Rohingya crisis. He claimed the panel was a "whitewash" and accused Ms Suu Kyi of lacking "moral leadership" on the issue. Mr Richardson, a long-time friend of Ms Suu Kyi, added she had been "furious" when he raised the case of two Reuters reporters on trial in Myanmar. Read more here

Trump stirs pot with Mueller interview offer

Robert Mueller wants to talk to Donald Trump. The President wants to talk to the special counsel -- so it's a done deal right? Not quite. Trump appeared on Wednesday to make a significant gesture by telling reporters that he wanted to testify to Mueller -- and was ready to do so under oath. Read more here

25th January 2018

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