Daily Brief - Thursday 28th June, 2018

NEWS

Soup Kitchen Burglars

Heartless criminals have deprived the poor, needy, homeless and children of hot meals by stealing items including food from the Holy Cross RC Church’s soup kitchen on the church compound in Buen Intento Road, Princes Town. This church has run the soup kitchen for over 30 years and every Wednesday, church members volunteer their time to dish out bowls of hot soup to needy families in the Princes Town community. The homeless also benefited. But yesterday, when they turned up at the soup kitchen in a room at the side of the church, they had to leave with empty hands and empty stomachs. Just over 100 people are served the meal every Wednesday, church members told Newsday. Read more here

$22m a month overtime bill

A $12 billion in debt, much of which is due in one year’s time, total employee costs amounting to 50 per cent of operating costs and an overtime bill of $22 million a month are some of the issues the board of State-owned energy company Petrotrin must deal with. The grim picture was painted by chairman Wilfred Espinet at a conference titled Macroeconomic Conversations hosted by the University of the West Indies in collaboration with Guardian Media Ltd at UWI’s St Augustine Campus yesterday. Read more here

24 years jail for woman held with gun, ganja

Minimart operator Joeann Walters was yesterday sentenced to 24 years in prison for an incident 15 years ago, where a loaded gun was found tucked in her waist as she alighted from the driver’s seat of a car, with crocus bags of marijuana in the back seat and trunk of the vehicle. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Dillon sold NYC apt ‘voluntarily’

National Security Minister Edmund Dillon said yesterday that his US$10 sale of a luxury New York City apartment back to its original owner, his friend, Neville Piper, was done “voluntarily.” “My interest has never been in the property. It was a gift to me and therefore I returned the gift. Simple as that,” Dillon told reporters at a graduation ceremony for the Civilian Conservation Corps at the Regiment Headquarters in Aranguez. This is his first public statement since news of the sale was reported. On Sunday, Newsday reported that a deed and property transfer report from the New York City Department of Finance, dated April 4, listed Dillon as the seller and Piper as the buyer for an apartment in a complex located at 301 Cathedral Parkway, just north of Central Park. Read more here

Ministry owes millions

An impasse between Education Minister Anthony Garcia and the Trinidad and Tobago Association of Private Secondary Schools (TTAPSS) over an increase in fees for Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) examination pupils assigned to their schools has left the Garcia looking for alternative places to put those pupils. However, Garcia is assuring all Government-assisted pupils will be placed. Yesterday, acting TTAPSS president Leslie Hislop told the T&T Guardian private secondary schools principals felt they had no choice but to adopt the position because they felt they could not “continue to provide places at the current rate being paid.” Read more here

Senator Mark to write police on Galleons Passage

The Opposition is maintaining that there is something fishy about the purchase of the Galleons Passage and it intends to write local and international authorities to investigate. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

The science of UTC

Growing up, Nigel Edwards wanted to be an engineer. “Every long school vacation I would work in an electronics shop repairing televisions and video cassette recorders. I really loved electronics and that would have been my preferred career,” he told Business Day at his tenth floor office at the Unit Trust Corporation’s Independence Square, Port of Spain headquarters. “But,” he chuckled, “I liked the sciences more than the sciences liked me.” He did, however, have an aptitude for business, and as the UTC’s new executive director, switching his passions from engineering to business management and finance appears to have worked out. Read more here

More customers using digital banking

There is a shift in customers’ banking behaviours with more opting to use technology rather than wait in line for a teller, RBC Royal Bank managing director Darryl White said at the opening of a digital branch in Marabella on Tuesday evening. He said in the last few months the use of RBC’s ATM machines hd doubled as more customers were using them for deposits and bill payments. Read more here

Mortgage crisis may be looming T&T house prices falling amidst struggling economy

 Trinidad and Tobago house prices are falling amid tough economic times, a World Bank global property data supplier has said. The claim is supported by latest available data from the Central Statistical Office (CSO). The World Bank data supplier, Global Property Guide, did not get its data from the CSO, however, but instead from surveys of local real estate vendors over the last year. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Petrojam Dispute - Insurer Dismisses Ministry's Defence Of Costly Contract

Chairman of Marathon Insurance Brokers (MIB) Richard Burgher has dismissed the "defence offered by Petrojam" through its parent ministry for extending an insurance contract for two years at a cost of $420 million more than available on the market. MIB responded to a tender put out by Petrojam inviting a provider for insurance services to staff. But Burgher said that, in his opinion, Petrojam aborted the tender process without adequate explanation. Instead, the company retained the existing insurance carrier although MIB's bid cost of $420 million for a two-year period was cheaper. The Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology yesterday confirmed that Petrojam aborted the insurance tender after being advised by the then Office of the Contractor General (OCG) of its investigation of the tender process arising from a complaint by Marathon Insurance Brokers Limited. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Merkel urges EU deal on migration

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged European leaders to work together on finding solutions to irregular migration.

She told Germany's parliament the issue could be a defining moment for the EU. The call comes ahead of an EU summit focused on how to deal with the many undocumented migrants - mainly Africans - who continue to risk their lives to cross the Mediterranean. Mrs Merkel is under pressure to come up with a deal to prevent new arrivals. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, from her Bavarian coalition partner the CSU, has given her until this weekend. Otherwise he has said he will start turning away migrants from the border in his home state. The migrant flows also include refugees fleeing the Syrian war and other conflicts, urgently seeking asylum. Read more here

Trump's legacy just got exponentially more consequential

If it was not clear before, it is now: Donald Trump will be a historically consequential president. The furious and disorientating theater of the last 17 months has often obscured the deep changes Trump is unleashing on America and the rest of the world. But the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy gives Trump the chance to shape the highest court in his image for a generation and will reinforce the weighty legacy he is constructing under cover of his daily whirlwind of chaos and controversy. Republicans are already savoring the short- and medium-term bonanza offered by the vacant seat on the nation's highest bench. And the disappearance of Kennedy's fickle swing vote on some landmark cases on social issues such as gay marriage and abortion. Read more here

28th June 2018

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