Daily Brief - Tuesday 24th October, 2017

NEWS

ODPM received more than 1,900 flood reports

The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) has received more than 1,900 flood reports caused by severe weather conditions resulting in widespread flooding across the country. In a statement to the media yesterday, the organisation said a national response mechanism was activated on October 18 as calls from the ODPM’s regional coordinators were being made to regional corporations’ disaster management units. Read more here

Water going down in Manzanilla

Some parts of Manzanilla Road remained under flood water yesterday, making it impossible for small vehicular access. In fact, only trucks were once again able to traverse the roadway with caution. There were dire consequences for some motorists in smaller vehicles who attempted to go through the floods, as they quickly got into difficulty, their vehicles stalled and they had to wait to be pulled to higher ground by passing trucks. Backhoes from the Sangre Grande Regional Corporations were also busy clearing clogged drains along the road to ensure a faster run-off of water to the sea. Read more here

Another tropical wave too close to T&T for comfort 

While flood waters have started to recede in several areas, the Met Service yesterday advised citizens to brace for more rain, floods and landslides from today as there is an active tropical wave to the east of Trinidad and Tobago. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Opposition abstains on Budget

The Opposition abstained in the vote on the National Budget in the House of Representatives last night which was passed by 21 votes “for” (by Government MPs), none “against” and eight abstentions (Opposition). In moving a motion to pass the Budget, Finance Minister Colm Imbert said it had been “a gruelling four weeks” in reference to the Budget debate and its passage through the Standing Finance Committee. He alerted, “We’ll be calling for a division.” Read more here

Garcia: Budget cuts for school feeding programme

Despite 2018 budget cuts for School Feeding Programme funding, all students in T&T will still get breakfasts and lunches, says Education Minister Anthony Garcia. “We’re not cutting the quantum of meals served,” Garcia stressed as he was questioned about the matter during yesterday’s final day of Parliament’s Standing Finance Committee scrutiny of 2018 Budget documents. Garcia confirmed the 2018 School Feeding Programme will be $43m as a result of funding reduction. He, however, assured students would not be disadvantaged. Read more here

PM under fire as he leaves for summit

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley's departure today for the IV Caricom-Mexico Summit in Belize, where disaster prevention and management is high on the agenda, was yesterday met with disbelief by many citizens on social media as parts of Trinidad remain under water. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Govt begins process to establish TTRA

Government has embarked on the first phase of its plan to establish the T&T Revenue Authority (TTRA). The move comes less than one month after Finance Minister Colm Imbert indicated in the budget presentation that the TTRA would be set up next year. During a post-budget forum earlier this month, Minister in the Ministry of Finance Allyson West said government was committed to transforming the country's revenue collection process through the TTRA. Read more here

Crops hit hard

Shiraz Khan, president of the Trinidad And Tobago Farmers' Union, has called on the Government to assist farmers get back on their feet. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

MoBay In Panic - 13 Murders In Six Days Spark Questions About ZOSO's Effectiveness

Business leaders, stakeholders and citizens in St James are now in panic, taken aback at the state of crime in the parish after an astonishing 13 murders over the past week. The spate of killings has left frightened residents wondering if the calm brought on by the zone of special operations (ZOSO) still under way in Mount Salem is now completely shattered. "We are in a crisis! The security forces and the minister of national security seem clueless of any method or process that would support the ordinary citizen in securing safe passage as we go about our business," declared attorney-at-law Nathan Robb, a former president of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI). Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Chinese President Xi cements his grip on power with rare party move

China has elevated the stature of President Xi Jinping and cemented his grip on power by including his name and political ideology in the Communist Party constitution. At the end of a pivotal twice-a-decade meeting, party delegates voted unanimously Tuesday to make "Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era" a guiding principle for the party. The move puts Xi on par with Chairman Mao Zedong who founded the People's Republic of China in 1949 and paramount leader Deng Xiaoping, who oversaw China's opening up to the world. China's previous two presidents, Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin, haven't had their names enshrined in the constitution in this way. Read more here

Donald Tusk: EU must stay united or face Brexit 'defeat'

The EU will be "defeated" in Brexit negotiations unless it maintains absolute unity, European Council president Donald Tusk has said. The ex-Polish prime minister told the European Parliament the UK's departure was the EU's "toughest stress test" and it must not be divided at any costs. "If we fail it then the negotiations will end in our defeat," he told MEPs. But one German MEP said the EU's stance was "illogical, dangerous and unfair" and UKIP accused the EU of "extortion". Read more here

24th October 2017

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