Daily Brief - Thursday 8th June, 2017

NEWS

400 Students on Suicide Watch

Over 400 students are on suicide watch across primary and secondary schools, coordinator of the clinical psychology masters programme at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine campus Dr Katija Khan says. The youngest, she added, is just seven years old. “Suicide is a public health crisis in this country and has extended to the very young and very vulnerable students as well,” she added. Khan was among several mental health professionals who went before a Joint Select Committee of Parliament yesterday, enquiring into the state of mental health services and facilities. Read more here

Judiciary chaos overshadows new judges’ moment

On the heels of the Appeal Court overturning the ruling of Justice Frank Seepersad on Tuesday, President Anthony Carmona yesterday swore in former journalist and deputy Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Kathy Ann Waterman-Latchoo and former Cayman Islands solicitor general Jacqueline Wilson as Puisne Judges. The ceremony took place at the Office of the President yesterday with Chief Justice Ivor Archie overseeing it. Archie did not take any questions from the media on the recent no- confidence motion and calls for his resignation by the Law Association, but assured that “all matters will be addressed in due course.” Read more here

Man, 80, dies at hospital entrance

AN investigation has been launched by the North West Regional Health Authority (NWRHA) to determine the circumstances surrounding the death of an 80-year-old man yesterday morning.
The deceased has been identified as Christopher Phillip of Laventille. Images of the body of the deceased man were shared several times on various social media platforms yesterday after pedestrians stumbled across his body early in the morning near the entrance to the hospital.
The police were notified and an autopsy was ordered to confirm the cause of death. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Rowley: Opposition Won’t Run This Country

Saying that the Opposition United National Congress (UNC) will not run this country, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley yesterday stated his Government will strenuously resist attempts by the Opposition to use the courts as a means of carrying out their political agendas, even if it means going all the way to the Privy Council in London. Speaking after a specially-convened Cabinet meeting at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s, Rowley referred to the State’s successful appeal of a ruling on the property tax issue as well as its successful appeal of a judge’s decision to halt the swearing in of two new judges, Rowley said the government acknowledges the authority of the Judiciary in taking decisions in the best interest of all citizens. “But having said that, we also acknowledge persons who see themselves in the political arena and who look around for opportunities to advance their political possibilities. Read more here

Roodal: Was Young at Camp Cumuto too?

Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal, who first raised the matter of teenagers photographed with high-powered weapons at the Camp Cumuto shooting range, is now asking whether another minister was present on the day Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi and his family visited the facility. Moonilal yesterday told the T&T Guardian he had read the letter Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Brigadier Rodney Smart sent to Opposition Senator Wayne Sturge on the issue, and found it “convoluted and confused, and left more questions than answers.” He said given the “dramatic denial of retired CDS Major General (Kenrick) Maharaj,” he is convinced the matter is “far from dead and will not go away.” Read more here

Rowley: Tax collection a matter for Executive

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley yesterday emphasised taxation and the collection of taxation were matters for the Executive. “Fortunately the Appeal Court has ruled in such a way that the Executive continues to be of this view. And we will proceed to collect the taxes that are available,” he said in commenting on the Appeal Court ruling on the property tax matter. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Scotiabank Announce Q2 Increase

Scotiabank has realised income after tax of $162 million for the quarter ended April 30, 2017 (Q2). An increase of $12 million or eight percent over the same period last year, this brought the year-todate income after tax to $333 million, an increase of $25 million or eight percent when compared to the corresponding period in 2016. Earnings per share increased to 188.7 cents, with return on equity and return on assets improving to 17.49 percent and 2.83 percent respectively, when compared to the same period last year. Total assets as at April 30 were $24 billion, representing growth of $1.9 billion or nine percent over the comparable period last year. Read more here

Contractors want procurement law

The Trinidad and Tobago Contractors Association (TTCA) is calling for the Government to implement procurement legislation before the end of the fiscal year 2016/2017.

“It is the TTCA’S position that recent reports via the media related to Special Purpose Government Agencies that are awarding construction contracts would have had different outcomes if the procurement processes were governed by the proposed procurement legislation,” the TTCA said in a statement yesterday. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Liat Flights Disrupted as Pilots Strike

All LIAT flights scheduled with ATR 72 aircraft were cancelled or delayed on Wednesday as a result of industrial action taken by the members of the Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association (LIALPA). In ongoing negotiations for higher wages, which includes the operation of the ATR aircraft, the pilots refused to fly the ATR 72 aircraft until an agreement is reached. LIAT’s CEO, Julie Reifer-Jones, stated, “LIAT apologises for these disruptions to our passengers and their plans and wishes to reiterate its commitment to work with LIALPA to resolve any issues.” In a statement issued last month, LIALPA gave management a June 1 deadline to avoid further escalation of what was described as a strained relationship that had “deteriorated to an all-time low”. Read more here

No Cash Plus Payday - Gov't Trustee Says Still No End In Sight; Losses Now Stand At $19 Billion

Two weeks after former Cash Plus boss Carlos Hill was freed of fraud charges, the state agency handling the liquidation of his failed unregulated investment scheme has signalled that depositors should not expect a full refund anytime soon. The Office of the Government Trustee revealed yesterday that the losses to Cash Plus depositors have been calculated at just over $19 billion, almost doubling the initial reports. The figure is based on the 35,000 claims the trustee's office says it received from approxi-mately 21,000 depositors for $J17.5 billion, US$23.3 million, UK£413,500, and CDN$93,000. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Five things to watch: The Comey hearing

The Senate intelligence committee hearing of former FBI Director James Comey was already going to be a blockbuster before it even started -- with Comey stating in pre-written testimony Wednesday that President Donald Trump urged him to drop his investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn. But while it may seem that Comey's decision to release his testimony a day early actually upstages his own appearance, in reality he gave senators a running start to come up with more pointed, probing questions for him when they all take the national stage Thursday morning. Read more here

General election 2017: Voters to go to the polls

Voting in the UK general election is under way at more than 40,000 polling stations across the country. Polls opened at 07:00 BST on Thursday, with counting starting once voting ends at 22:00 BST. A total of 650 Westminster MPs will be elected, with about 46.9 million people registered to vote. That is up from the last general election, in 2015, when there were 46.4 million registered voters. Read more here

8th June 2017

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