Daily Brief - Thursday 28th September, 2017

NEWS

Replace service commissions with HR depts

The public service system is an outdated bureaucracy and must be reformed with service commissions replaced by human resource departments to make hiring qualified personnel more efficient, Economic Development Board chairman Dr Terrence Farrell said yesterday. “The system we have today is a colonial institution. We inherited the Public Service Commission and put it in the Constitution. All the bacchanal (in the public service) is as a result of a set of institutions from since before independence and we haven’t changed,” Farrell said at the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business, Mt Hope. Read more here

Hurricanes force Sandals to put Tobago project on hold

The devastation caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria in the Northern Antilles has resulted in Sandals resort chain putting plans for building a 750-room hotel in Tobago on hold. Confirmation came from Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley at a press conference at the Hyatt Regency Hotel yesterday, following a six-hour discussion with the business community on a theme entitled Prime Minister on Spotlight of T&T’s Financial Circumstances - The Road Ahead. Read more here

Killers bash in head, slit throat

Masked men used a sledgehammer to end the life of a Rio Claro hose fabricator during a home invasion yesterday. Larry Garcia, 27, was found with his head bashed in. His killers used another tool which Garcia kept in his workshop and slit his throat.
The gruesome discovery was made by his family, who live opposite his home in Cadiz Street, Ecclesville. Police were told Garcia’s AD wagon was stolen by the killers. Read more here

 

POLITICS

NATUC: Govt up to mischief

Michael Annisette, president general of the Seamen and Waterfront Workers Trade Union (SWWTU), describes as “mischievous,” the Government’s decision to invite individual unions to yesterday’s Prime Minister’s forum when it had already invited the various federations. Annisette said this was one of the main reasons why trade union leaders boycotted the forum, titled, Spotlight on Trinidad and Tobago’s Financial Circumstances: The Road Ahead, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Port-of-Spain. Read more here

Govt not visiting devaluation yet

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley is insisting his Government has no intention of devaluing the T&T dollar. However, Finance Minister Colm Imbert says if T&T imports continue to exceed its export we could find ourselves in problems. Rowley made the comment at a press conference at the Hyatt Regency, following Government’s consultation on the state of the economy, in response to questions on whether devaluation was ahead given the high consumption by citizens coupled with low foreign exchange reserves for Government. Read more here

‘Country must bite the bullet’

Energy Chamber chief executive Dr Thackwray Driver has urged Government to “bite the bullet” and increase electricity rates. “Electricity pricing needs to be addressed. We cannot go on with this extremely low pricing, which the National Gas Company is subsidising via the low gas price it has to sell to T&TEC,” he said. Addressing the “Spotlight on Trinidad and Tobago’s Financial Circumstances” at the Hyatt Regency (Trinidad) yesterday, Driver noted that Trinbagonians saw migration of people into this country as a “burden to the state, rather than as productive people to the economy”. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

TT, an economy in transition

Trinidad and Tobago has risen 11 points on the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index. That ranking, however, was based more on a modified evaluation criteria than any profound change in policy. Out of 137 countries, TT placed 83rd up from 94th out of 138 last year. Read more here

Finance Minister bemoans poor use of fiscal incentives for business

Finance Minister Colm Imbert says that while there has been an outcry for action to kickstart growth and investments in the economy, many fiscal incentives for business development were going unused. “This has been an ongoing challenge for the government. There are tax breaks that exist, and many other fiscal incentives to stimulate business activity in T&T but nobody seems to be getting involved and taking them up” Imbert said yesterday during a panel discussion at the event: “ Spotlight on Trinidad and Tobago’s Financial Circumstance: The Road Ahead” at the Hyatt Hotel in Port-of-Spain. Read more here

Farrell: Govt to blame for forex shortage

Economist and chairman of the Economic Development Advisory Board, Dr Terrence Farrell, yesterday questioned the decision by the Government and the Central Bank not to allow the market to play a greater role in determining the TT/US dollar exchange rate. He said the decision has led to the unavailability of foreign exchange and the woes faced by businesses. “The foreign exchange availability issue is a self-inflicted wound,” Farrell said yesterday. He was speaking at the release of the 2017 Global Competitiveness Index, held at the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business at Mt Hope. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

60 Days Not Enough - Stakeholders Say Time Too Short For Social Intervention In ZOSOs; Fear It Will Fail

Stressing that there is no quick fix for a long-term culture of bad behaviour, civil society stakeholders are adamant that the 60-day time frame set out for the implementation of social intervention programmes within the zones of special operations (ZOSOs) is not enough to bear much fruit. In fact, representatives from RISE Life Management Services and Eve for Life practically scoffed at not only the impossibility of such a plan, but at the social support and capacity building being proposed under the ZOSOs. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Trump sells tax plan as 'once-in-a-generation' opportunity

President Donald Trump on Wednesday unveiled a Republican framework for tax reform that calls for sweeping tax cuts and a simplification of the tax code, framing the effort in a speech as a historic opportunity. "This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity, and I guess it's probably something I could say that I'm very good at," Trump said during remarks in Indiana. "I've been waiting for this for a long time. We're going to cut taxes for the middle class, make the tax code simpler and more fair for everyday Americans. And we are going to bring back the jobs and wealth that have left our country and most people thought left our country for good." Read more here

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg rejects Trump bias claims

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has dismissed comments made by Donald Trump that the site has always been against him. The US president accused the social network of "collusion" on Twitter, branding it "anti-Trump". He made the same claim against the New York Times and the Washington Post. Facebook will shortly hand over 3,000 political adverts to congressional investigators probing alleged Russian meddling in the US election. Read more here

28th September 2017

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