Daily Brief - Thursday 26th January, 2017


3,000 child sex abuse cases in 8 months

Within an eight month period from May to December 2015, 3,000 children in this country fell victim to sexual abuse. More than 230 sexual offences were committed against infants zero to five years, in the same period. Acting Supt Beverly Rodriguez of the Child Protection Unit (CPU) revealed this yesterday indicating that in the zero to five years category, offences for males numbered 65, while for females, the figure was 171, a total of 236. The most prevalent offence was sexual penetration followed by sexual touching. Rodriguez spoke at the weekly press briefing at Police Administration Building, Port-of- Spain. She said the figures were of great concern to the CPU and Police Service. She disclosed that for the same eight-month period 986 matters were investigated. For 2016, 2,122 cases were under investigation. She added that 591 matters in 2016 were brought to the stage of prosecution, while 271 cases were prosecuted in 2015. Read more here

T&T slides down corruption index

T&T has slipped four points on the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), from a score of 39 in 2015 to 35 in 2016. This was revealed during the launch of the Corruption Perceptions Index 2016 at the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business, Mt Hope yesterday. This country’s position is now 101 compared to 72 in 2015. In 2013 and 2014, T&T had scored 38 and in 2012 the score was 39 on the CPI. Speaking at the launch, JMMB managing director and CEO Nigel Romano called for good corporate governance in private companies and State enterprises, adding that this essentially protected the interests of a company’s owners, shareholders and was receptive to requests. Read more here

‘Let parents pay for damaged school furniture’

Parents should be made to pay for school furniture damaged by their children. This was among the suggestions made when officials from the Ministry of Education met with the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) of the Parliament yesterday, at Tower D, International Waterfront Centre, Port of Spain. Vice-chairman of the committee Rodger Samuel expressed concern at the high furniture-replacement bill the ministry faces each year. “On an annual basis, there is a great deal of expenditure to replace furniture at schools,” said Samuel. “The major cause of destruction is indiscipline of students. I, myself, visit schools and at times, in the backyard of schools, there is a pile of furniture that has been destroyed by students,” he said. Read more here



Young unfazed by corrupt TT

Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Stuart Young, was yesterday unfazed by a Transparency International (TI) report that said TT’s score on a corruption perception index has fallen from 39 to 35, saying this had occurred in 2014 and 2015, a period that is largely before the Government took office. Read more here

New THA Chief Secretary takes oath today

Political leader of the Tobago Council of the PNM Kelvin Charles, who will take the oath this morning as the new Chief Secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly, says he will give it his best shot. Charles led the PNM to victory in Monday’s election. The PNM, which previously controlled all 12 seats in the assembly won 10, while the Progressive Democratic Patriots, led by Watson Duke, captured two seats. President Anthony Carmona and Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley will attend the 10th inauguration ceremony,at which the President is expected to deliver a brief address. Read more here

Govt gives timeline for Pan Trinbago audit

Once the curtains fall on Carnival 2017, Government will be sending auditors into Pan Trinbago.
The steelband organisation’s books are to be scrutinised following a tumble of allegations of financial misconduct in the past months, Arts and Culture Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly announced at yesterday’s post-Cabinet news briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister in St Clair. “Immediately following Carnival 2017, there is going to be a forensic audit into Pan Trinbago,” Gadsby-Dolly said, adding: “We expect that the organisation will co-operate with Government in this regard.” Read more here



Scotia, HADCO partner in Breast Cancer fight

Yoplait, distributed locally by HADCO Limited joined the Scotiabank Trinidad and Tobago Foundation in making strides in women’s health and breast cancer education through its Platinum Sponsorship of the Foundation’s Women Against Breast Cancer 5K 2016. The sponsorship value of $45,000, raised through sales of Yoplait, with a percentage being donated to the Scotiabank Foundation, was presented recently to Dr Mark Pounder – Director, Scotiabank Foundation. “At the Scotiabank Foundation, we are heartened to receive such tremendous support from companies and individuals, towards the cause. Cancer is a disease that affects so many and these funds help us conduct community cancer clinics, via the Trinidad and Tobago Cancer Society.” Read more here

Kamla writes Trump about FATCA

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad Bissessar has written to US President Donald Trump asking him whether his government intends to nullify the Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). In a two page letter dated January 13, Persad-Bissessar congratulated Trump on his election and said her purpose in writing him was the law enacted by his predecessror Barack Obama which had become the “subject of sharp controversy here in Trinidad and Tobago.” Persad-Bissessar said she wrote the letter because she had urged Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to raise the matter with the new US President and was rebuffed by Minister of Finance Colm Imbert, who claimed Trump“did not have time for this.” Read more here

T&T’s rank worsens in Corruption Index 2016

Trinidad and Tobago has been perceived as more corrupt in 2016 than it was in recent years, Transparency International’s latest Corruption Perception Index (CPI) has shown. According to the global corruption watchdog, this country’s corruption ranking plunged from 72 out of the 168 countries assessed in 2015 to 101 out of 176 countries assessed in 2016. Read more here



St Lucia opposition calls on government minister to resign after nude pictures go viral on social media

The opposition St Lucia Labour Party (SLP) has called on minister in the ministry of finance, Senator Dr Ubaldus Raymond, to do “the honourable thing and tender his resignation immediately” following the release on social media of nude photographs purportedly of Raymond and the arrest of an 18-year-old college student charged with attempted blackmail. The student, identified as Curshaby Alexander of Gros Islet, appeared in court in Castries on Friday afternoon, January 13, and is expected to make another appearance in a closed hearing on February 2, 2017, at the Gros Islet court. Also on January 13, Raymond told a news conference that he was blackmailed. Read more here

Potential Appeal! - Process Could Cost Up To $13m - Carter Likely To Challenge Disqualification Ruling

Nesta Carter is likely to appeal his 2008 Beijing Olympic Games disqualification through the Court of Arbitration of Sports (CAS), following the International Olympic Association's (IOC) decision to strip the sprinter and Jamaica of the 4x100m relay gold medal won in the Chinese city. The decision will be confirmed after continued consultation with his London-based legal team today. He has 21 days to appeal. Last year, Carter's frozen 2008 blood sample showed the presence of the prohibited substance methylhexanamine after the application of updated testing methods. His was one of 31 samples that returned doping violations under a reanalysis exercise that took a second look at 454 samples from the Beijing Games. Read more here



Trump on waterboarding: 'We have to fight fire with fire'

President Donald Trump said he wants to "fight fire with fire" when it comes to stopping terrorism, suggesting that he could be open to bringing back torture because he "absolutely" believes it works. Trump said "people at the highest level of intelligence" have told him that torture does work, something military experts have refuted. He went on to say, however, that he will listen to what his Cabinet secretaries have to say about the issue. "When ISIS is doing things that no one has ever heard of, since medieval times, would I feel strongly about waterboarding?" Trump said in an interview with ABC News. "As far as I'm concerned, we have to fight fire with fire." But he also said that he would defer to the recommendations of Defense Secretary James Mattis, who opposes enhanced interrogation, and CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who told senators earlier this month that he wouldn't sanction the use of torture. Pompeo later said he would consider bringing back waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation measures under certain circumstances. Read more here

Mexico: We will not pay for Trump border wall

Mexico will not pay for Donald Trump's border wall, the country's president has said in a message to the nation. Enrique Pena Nieto said he "lamented" the plans for the barrier, adding that "Mexico doesn't believe in walls". But he made no mention of cancelling or postponing a trip to Washington on 31 January to meet the new US president. Mr Trump has signed an executive order for an "impassable physical barrier" and has insisted Mexico will reimburse the US for it. Mr Pena Nieto told the nation in a televised address: "I've said time and again; Mexico won't pay for any wall.”I regret and condemn the decision of the United States to continue construction of a wall that, for years, has divided us instead of uniting us." Read more here


26th January 2017


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