Daily Brief - Tuesday 22nd August, 2017

NEWS

Daughter pleads: Please find my father

A heart wrenching plea from the eldest daughter of Richard Baird to authorities to double their efforts to find her father who has been missing since Saturday after he went hiking to the Aripo waterfall in the Northern Range. Kernesha Baird, who resides in Brampton, Canada made an emotional appeal last evening as the search ended for a second consecutive day.  “Please find my father,” she cried. “I want to sincerely thank all of you who are risking life and limb and I want you to know that my family deeply appreciates all your efforts.  Read more here

Constable shot in Morvant ambush

A police constable was shot after being ambushed by gunmen in Morvant yesterday. According to reports around 3.15 pm the officer, only identified as PC Smith, was driving a marked police SUV along the Lady Young Road in Morvant when he was stopped by a resident. The resident allegedly told Smith that he saw two gunmen hiding in some bushes in a road off McKai Lands. Smith, who is assigned to the Police Administration Building in Port-of-Spain and has almost five years’ service, got out of his vehicle to investigate and was almost immediately greeted with gunshots. Read more here

Excited sun gazers flock to Savannah 

Sporting purple paperweight shades, excited people gathered at the picturesque Queen's Park Savannah in Port of Spain yesterday to view the much-hyped solar eclipse. Caribbean Institute of Astronomy (CARINA) director Graham Rostant had organised the viewing event which was held simultaneously at San Fernando Hill and Sangre Grande. Read more here

 

POLITICS

JSC on ferries may sit several times

The Land and Physical Infrastructure joint select committee (JSC) of the Parliament may require more than one hearing to understand the entire process surrounding the controversial procurement and acquisition of the Cabo Star and the Ocean Flower II vessels for the domestic seabridge. The JSC is scheduled to hold an in-camera meeting, followed by a live televised public hearing at Tower D of the Port-of- Spain International Waterfront Centre. This committees is one of several regular JSCs of the Parliament and is chaired by Independent Senator Stephen Creese. Other members include Energy Minister Franklin Khan, Sports Minister Daryl Smith, Opposition Senator Wade Mark and Mayaro MP Rushton Paray. Given the complexity of the issues surrounding the procurement of these vessels, sources told Newsday yesterday that one hearing with the various stakeholders may not be sufficient to provide the committee with all the information it needs to submit a report on this issue to Parliament. Read more here

Ocean Flower deal crooked

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has acknowledged that the procurement of the Ocean Flower 2 passenger vessel was not above board. He made the comment in response to questions posed to him at a news conference at the Magdalena Grande Beach Resort yesterday, following a meeting with Tobago stakeholders on the ferry fiasco involving the Ocean Flower 2 and Cabo Star. Asked if he was convinced something had gone drastically wrong and crooked in the Ocean Flower 2 transaction, the PM responded: “Yes.” Pressed for qualification on the matter, he said, “I just answered that question, I said yes, my yes means a lot to me.” Read more here

PM has no empathy for Tobago

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has again accused Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley of incompetence, saying yesterday he has “admitted” to having “no idea” what his Cabinet ministers are doing. Persad-Bissessar issued a statement following Rowley's meeting in Tobago with stakeholders affected by weaknesses in the inter-island sea and air links, in which she said the PM “has no ideas, and is incapable of dealing with any of the issues facing our country, including the seabridge fiasco”. Read more here

  

BUSINESS

JMMB Group’s Q1 revenue up

The JMMB Group (JMMB) has reported net operating revenue of Jamaican $4.05 billion for the first quarter of its financial year; ending June in. This represented a 19 percent increase yearover- year. The financial group, which started in 1992 as the first money market broker in Jamaica, now has operations in the Dominican Republic (DR), Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago (TT). In a statement issued from its operation in Kingston, Jamaica on August 14, JMMB said its “net profit totalled J $613.4 million, which reflected a marginal growth of three percent, compared to the corresponding prior period.” JMMB’s performance was driven by growth across its business lines - net gains on securities trading, net interest income and fees and commission income. Net interest income for the reporting period stood at J $1.91 billion, reflecting growth of 24 percent or J $377.9 million. Read more here

Business conference to address recession

Three executives with expertise in various fields will share the stage for an upcoming business conference entitled “Soar Above The Recession: A Leaders Conference” to be held on September 12 at the Hyatt hotel in Port-Of-Spain. The event, hosted by Imagine Media International in collaboration with the TT Chamber of Industry and Commerce and Fatima Old Boys Association will feature Australian-based, Trinidadian Robert Wickham, vice president Innovation and Digital Transformation, Asia Pacific Region for the global cloud technology giant, Salesforce.com, Gervase Warner, Massy President & Group CEO and Kristine Gibbon-Thompson, owner, Chuck E. Cheese’s. Minister of Trade and Industry, Paula Gopee-Scoon is carded to deliver the opening remarks at the conference. Read more here

Forex reserves now US$8.7b 

T&T's foreign reserves stabilised in July after 11 consecutive months of decline, data released by the Central Bank yesterday revealed. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Murders up 39 percent in The Bahamas

Murders in The Bahamas have increased by 39 percent between January 1, 2017 and August 20, 2017, compared to the same period last year. There have been 89 murders for this year. As of August 20, 2016, there were 64 murders. Three killings were recorded last Friday. There were 95 murders as of August 20, 2015; 76 murders during the same period in 2014; 68 in the same period in 2013; 78 murders up to August 20, 2012 and 91 in the same period in 2011. Read more here

Stop Complaining! - Chinese Ambassador Chides Local Professionals, Players Who Want MOU Halted

Halt the "ill-conceived" agreement that guarantees Chinese investors US$1 million in the Government Oval project, local construction players are demanding of the Government in an intensification of their lobby against the deal. It comes as the Chinese ambassador to Jamaica, Niu Qingbao, urged local professionals to stop complaining about alleged unfair competition. In an RJR interview aired yesterday, he said that aggrieved stakeholders should prove "whether they can do a better service". The ambassador's comment is a reiteration of a statement from the embassy earlier this month rejecting claims by Opposition Spokesman Peter Bunting that the Chinese were taking over Jamaica through economic colonisation. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

US Navy collision: Remains found in hunt for missing sailors

Human remains have been found in the hunt for 10 US sailors missing after their destroyer collided with a tanker near Singapore, the navy says. The discovery came when divers were sent down to search inside the USS John S McCain, now berthed at Singapore's Changi naval base. The collision with a Liberian-flagged ship happened before dawn on Monday as the US vessel made a routine port call. The US has since ordered a worldwide "operational pause" of its navy fleet. It was the fourth crash involving a US Navy ship in a year, and the second in the past two months. Read more here

In Afghanistan course correction, Trump learns winning is not so easy

Donald Trump has always insisted he's all about winning. But on Monday night, as he laid out his new strategy for Afghanistan, America got to see how its new President confronted what many experts believe is a no-win situation: a war that has dragged on with no end in sight for 16 years. Trump laced his prime-time speech with volleys of bold language that might be expected from a new commander-in-chief taking over a failing war. Read more here

22nd August 2017

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