Daily Brief - Tuesday 4th April, 2017


Krysis wants deal before giving info

Abdul “Krysis” Wakeel won’t “sing” until he gets what he wants. The Unruly Isis member won’t come forward with information about issues in Enterprise, Chaguanas, unless proper arrangements are made to receive it and the State agrees not to engage in intimidation, coercion or prosecution, says Islamic front leader Umar Abdullah. “These (conditions) are necessary because giving that sort of information is very risky - we know what happens to witnesses,” Abdullah told the T&T Guardian yesterday. Abdullah, who claims to have engineered last Friday’s meeting between Wakeel and National Security Minister Edmund Dillon, as the minister toured the community, said he was Wakeel’s spokesman. Read more here

Gulf fish unsafe to eat

Environmental group Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) is calling for a “state of emergency” on the Gulf of Paria fisheries, as it maintains that fish from the Gulf is unsafe to eat. FFOS corporate secretary Gary Aboud said in a statement at the weekend that the number of dead dolphins discovered in the La Brea area was unusually high. He claimed that more than 20 had been discovered since the December 2013 oil spills. Aboud said no dolphins, fish or birds have been dying anywhere on the North, East or South coasts of Trinidad or anywhere else in Gulf of Paria except from Mosquito Creek to Point Fortin. Read more here



Franklyn Khan back on the job

Energy Minister Franklyn Khan is back on the job after undergoing triple by pass surgery on January 8, immediately hit the ground running attending a meeting of the Finance and General Purpose Committee and holding meetings with key staff to get updated on developments in the energy sector. Khan’s return to work comes in what’s being described as challenging times for the energy sector. In the past month, two Methanol plants have closed their doors at Point Lisas, this he said was as a result of the “critical gas curtailment,” situation. Read more here

Agent: Govt should have pushed harder

Had the Government pushed a little harder to finalise its contract with Trasmediterránea (Trasmed), the company which owns the MV Super Fast Galicia, the vessel “could still be here today”. This is according to John Powell, managing director of Intercontinental Shipping Limited, the local agent for the Galicia— the country's only inter-island cargo vessel. “I do believe that time ran out with the Port Authority and maybe the Port could have been a little bit more forthcoming and pushing to get this contract signed and done. By us not getting it done, the owners said that they need the vessel back for their own trade lanes in North Africa and Spain,” a frustrated-sounding Powell said during a telephone interview with the Express yesterday. Read more here



Offshore rig workers protest outside bpTT

Some 22 workers, who were employed on an offshore rig drilling for bpTT, yesterday staged a demonstration outside the Queen’s Park South offices of energy giant, demanding an independent investigation into their safety concerns and the treatment of workers by the rig owner. The workers were employed by Lennox Petroleum Services on the Rowan EXL 11 rig, which is located off Trinidad’s south-east coast. But Lennox Petroleum yesterday accused “certain offshore workers” of staging an illegal strike last Wednesday, in a statement suggesting that the industrial action was based on a dispute over their wages. Read more here

T&T recession slows rum sales

The ongoing recession is affecting local rum sales, the country's largest legal rum manufacturer said in its results released yesterday on the Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange (TTSE). “For the year ended December 31, 2016, the (Angostura) Group recorded revenue of $620.5 million versus $649.4 million in 2015, a decrease of $28.9 million (or 4.5 per cent). Of this decrease, $25.0 million related to the commodity rum trade while $3.9 million related to the sale of branded products. Domestic rum sales were affected by the local economic climate, while export rum and bitters experienced growth. The group is reviewing all business lines to support future growth and innovation objectives,” said Angostura chairman Rolph Balgobin. Read more here



Major Clash Over Property Taxes Expected In Gordon House Today

Government and opposition lawmakers are set to clash at Gordon House today when the controversial revised property tax system comes up for scheduled debate. The Cabinet had its usual Monday meeting yesterday, and up to press time, there was no conclusion on the review that Information Minister Senator Ruel Reid promised would be done, following outcry from citizens and powerful interest groups. Briefing The Gleaner yesterday afternoon, Reid, who has insisted that the Government cannot change land valuations, said that he would give an update tomorrow at a post-Cabinet press briefing but disclosed that focus would be on how some groups can get relief. Members of parliament from both sides of the political divide are expected to trade arguments this afternoon when they start debate in the House of Representatives on two pieces of legislation - An Act to Amend the Property Tax Act and An Act to Amend the Land Valuation Act. Read more here

US State Department attack on Nevis 'unfounded and misleading'

In a press statement on Friday, Heidi-Lynn Sutton, the financial services regulator in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA), refuted as “unfounded and misleading” claims made by the US State Department that “financial oversight in Nevis remains problematic due to the federation allowing the creation of anonymous accounts, strong bank secrecy laws, and overall lack of transparency of beneficial ownership of legal entities.” The recently published State Department’s 2017 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR) further stated that “the ambiguous regulatory framework regarding customer due diligence makes Nevis a desirable location for criminals to conceal proceeds”. According to Sutton, the INCSR “delivers an attack on Nevis with allegations that are unfounded and misleading,” pointing out that measures have been in place since 2009 to mitigate money laundering and terrorist financing risks/threats to the financial services industry in Nevis. Read more here



Syria conflict: 'Chemical attack' in Idlib kills 58

At least 58 people have been killed and dozens wounded in a suspected chemical attack on a rebel-held town in north-western Syria, a monitoring group says. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that strikes on Khan Sheikhoun by Syrian government or Russian jets had caused many people to choke. Later, aircraft fired rockets at local clinics treating some of the survivors, medics and opposition activists said. The Syrian government has repeatedly denied using chemical weapons. If confirmed, it would be one of the deadliest chemical attacks in Syria since the civil war began six years ago. Read more here

St. Petersburg metro attack 'carried out by suicide bomber'

The St. Petersburg metro attack was carried out by a suicide bomber, the Kyrgyz Foreign Minister has said. Kyrgyz authorities had earlier identified Akbarjon Djalilov, a Russian national born in Kyrgyzstan, as a suspect in the blast that ripped through a train in Russia's second city on Monday afternoon. The Russian health ministry raised the number of dead from 11 to 14, although it was unclear whether that included the attacker. Four of the dozens of people injured are in critical condition, Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova said, according to TASS. Read more here

4th April 2017


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