Daily Brief - Tuesday 25th April, 2017


Protest over bad roads, no water

Residents of Todds Road in Central Trinidad staged a fiery protest yesterday to highlight the lack of a proper water supply and deplorable roads. They blocked the main entrance into the community that located off the Caparo Valley Brasso Road. Villagers piled tyres and other debris and set them ablaze around 6 am. Police and the Fire Service doused the blaze which was later reignited. Councillor for the area Ryan Rampersad (Longdenville/Talparo of the Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation) said the residents were fed up with the state of the roads and water supply in the area. Read more here

Historic buildings demolished in clean-up campaign

Everyone wanted the historic buildings in Sangre Grande to be saved and restored, but not a single person offered a cent to make it happen despite years of talk, said regional corporation chairman Terry Rondon. And it is for this reason, said Rondon, the backhoes moved in on Saturday and took apart the old fire station, and the building that once housed the warden's office and courthouse. Aldo demolished was the old post office in the village of Comparo, Manzanilla. Read more here



Heat for MP as pipes run dry

Life in a Moruga continues to be a struggle for 68-year-old Alloy Triea Guillermo and his wife Susan who strained as they pulled a box cart carrying a barrel of water across a dilapidated road. It was for reasons like these that the usually quiet community of the Penal Rock Road erupted in fiery and noisy protest against a poor standard of living that mimicked the post-colonial era. Frustrated that governments, past and present have ignored their basic needs for street lights, water, proper roads, drainage and jobs, they called on Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to fire their MP, Dr Lovell Francis for a lack of representation. Read more here

State enterprises ‘$44b in debt’

Forty-four billion dollars! That is the outstanding debt stock of the country's State enterprises, according to information presented at yesterday's meeting of the Joint Select Committee on State Enterprises. This figure does not include the debts of statutory authorities such as the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) and the Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission (T&TEC). In response to questions from committee chairman Senator David Small about the “huge debt”, acting permanent secretary in the Ministry of Finance Suzette Lee Chee said the $44 billion figure was close to the highest that State enterprise debt had ever been. Read more here



FCB CEO at annual meeting: APO results out soon

Chief Executive Officer of state-owned First Citizens Bank (FCB) Karen Darbasie says that the final results for the additional public offering (APO) of shares in the bank will be released to the public shortly. “We’ve just finished the collation of the data. The audit on some of the rules for participation, as disclosed in the prospectus, has also just been completed which we will be sending across to the shareholder. So we expect within the next couple of weeks that the formal results of the APO will be made public” Darbasie said as she fielded question from the media at the Bank’s Annual General Meeting held at the Hilton Hotel in Port-of-Spain yesterday. Commenting further on the APO, Darbasie said that a wide cross-section of the public had expressed interest in acquiring shares of the bank. Read more here

Decision soon on corned beef ban

Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat is expected to deliver news today as to whether a ban on corned beef imported from Brazil is to be lifted. To the distress of many, corned beef disappeared from local shelves last month after the Ministry of Agriculture imposed a ban following claims by Brazilian police that rotted meat was being palmed off by some of that country's biggest exporters. Jamaica also put in place its own ban on the importation of corned beef from Brazil, from which 99.5 per cent of that country's product originates. Read more here



Illegal Cash Pot Operators Funding Gangs

Illegal cash pot operators are creaming off what the authorities believe amount to at least J$2 billion per year from the gaming industry. Although this continues to put a dent in the operations of Supreme Ventures, the licensed franchise operator, it is how the money is being spent that has stakeholders and the police concerned. It is a sure source of funding for many of the gangs around the country, who are using it to purchase weapons to fortify their empires, they say. "Illegal gambling is prevalent across Jamaica," the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC), the statutory body with responsibility for licensing, regulating and monitoring the local gambling/gaming industry, told The Gleaner in an email response to our questions. In fact, the BGLC said that the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Crime Stop in September 2016 was intended to crack down on the plethora of illegal cash pot operators who had been draining Supreme Ventures' profits. Read more here

Former Guyana attorney general arrested

Former attorney general Anil Nandalall, who is also currently acting as the lawyer for a number of former Guyana government officials who were arrested by the Special Organized Crime Unit (SOCU), has now found himself in the same predicament as his clients and political colleagues. According to reports, Nandalall was arrested on Monday by ranks of the Special Organized Crime Unit (SOCU) after a state-sponsored forensic audit had suggested that the well-known attorney was criminally culpable for the disappearance of several law volumes. Read more here



North Korea marks anniversary with massive artillery drill

North Korea's military staged a "large-scale artillery drill" in the country's east Tuesday to mark the founding of the country's army. A statement from the South Korean military said the live-fire exercises were underway in the Wonsan region on Tuesday afternoon, but gave no details on what kinds of weapons and military units took part in the drill. "Our military is closely monitoring the North Korean military's movements and remains firmly prepared," the statement from the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff says. North Korea's drills coincided with military exercises held by US and South Korean navies in the Yellow Sea, off the western coast of the Korean Peninsula. Read more here

France election: Candidates honour shot officer Jugelé

The two candidates for the French presidency, Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, are attending a ceremony in Paris in honour of the policeman shot dead on the Champs Elysées last week. It is the first time the top two candidates in Sunday's first round of voting have appeared together publicly. Xavier Jugelé, 37, was killed by convicted criminal Karim Cheurfi. Current President François Hollande called for unity in the "long and difficult fight against terrorism". "Once again France has lost one of its bravest sons. Once again the Republic has lost one of its most valuable guardians," he said. The issue of security sharply divides the presidential candidates. Ms le Pen wants France to reintroduce border controls and deport all foreigners on a terror watchlist. Read more here

25th April 2017


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