Daily Brief - Wednesday 14th June, 2017

NEWS

Baby Left for KFC

Police officers gave a stern warning to a young mother who abandoned her one-year-old daughter and left her with a complete stranger along the Brian Lara Promenade in Port of Spain, so she could collect money and purchase a box of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) at a nearby fast food outlet. The woman said she only left the infant, who sat in a stroller, “For a short while”, after receiving a call on her cellphone to go and collect some money from the child’s father, who she said was, “Right up the road.” The woman who was abruptly left with the baby, identified herself to Newsday as Candace Holder and said she was flabbergasted when a woman whom she did not know just told her to, “Watch meh chile... ah coming back now.” Holder said that at the time, she was on her way to pick up her own two daughters in Belmont. Read more here

Probe Marcia, CJ’s behaviour

Senior Counsel Israel Khan has written to Director of Public Prosecution Roger Gaspard suggesting that a police investigation be launched to determine whether Chief Justice Ivor Archie is guilty of misbehaviour in public office in what he terms the “unfortunate constitutional crisis involving former chief magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar. Khan also wants a similar investigation into Ayers-Caesar. Khan penned two letters to Gaspard on Monday reminding him of a letter he (Khan) had sent on June 9 requesting Gaspard to invoke his powers under Section 90 of the Constitution to request the Commissioner of Police to appoint a senior officer to “conduct a thorough investigation to ascertain whether Mrs Marcia Ayers-Caesar had committed the common law offense of misbehaviour in public office.” Read more here

Stupid Little Boys

Roman Catholic priest Fr Clyde Harvey said yesterday he felt sadness for the “stupid little boys” who tied him up, robbed him and threatened his life. “I felt mostly sadness during the whole experience. As I saw the ignorance of these boys, and the constant demand for money, it reminded me of who their God is.” Harvey recalled being attacked outside the St Martin de Porres Church in Port of Spain around 5 a.m. on Monday when he was accosted by young men armed with guns. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Trial by Judge Alone bill before special committee

The Miscellaneous Provisions (Trial by Judge Alone) Bill was yesterday referred to a special select committee of the Senate to consider and report on the bill to the Senate by June 30. The purpose of the bill is to “amend the Offences Against the Person Act and the Criminal Procedures Act and for related matters”. The bill was withdrawn from the Committee stage at yesterday’s Senate sitting based on a recommendation of opposition senator Wade Mark and supported by independent senator Dr Dhanayshar Mahabir. The special select committee will be chaired by government senator Clarence Rambharat. The other members are government senators Michael Coppin and Daniel Dookie, opposition senator Gerald Ramdeen and independent senator Sophia Chote. Read more here

Minister: Compound in compliance

Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste- Primus, in responding to queries about the June 11 death of National Flour Mills plant superintendent McAllister Charles and NFM’s safety compliance, said the compound has been inspected. She did so in the Senate yesterday. Baptiste-Primus said the area was inspected by Occupational Health and Safety inspectors and found to be fully compliant with safety standards. OSH’s inspection on Monday pertained to the entire NFM compound. An OSH report is being done following information on the cause of death, she said. Read more here

Minister: Anyone can buy at Victoria Keyes

Former chief of defence staff Brigadier Rodney Smart and acting Chief of Defence Staff Hayden Pritchard both went through a transparent application process and met the criteria required for purchase of apartments at Victoria Keyes, Housing Minister Randall Mitchell said yesterday. The Express contacted Mitchell to ask specifically if Smart and Pritchard had purchased apartments at Victoria Keyes, as claimed by Opposition MP Dr Roodal Moonilal. In an e-mailed response, Mitchell stated that Pritchard had applied for a unit on February 20 this year and Rodney Smart and Karen Smart had applied for a unit on April 13. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Saturday shift is voluntary

Royal Bank (RBC) senior manager (media relations) Nicole Duke-Westfield yesterday said the special Seniors’ Day on July 1 was voluntary and workers who chose to volunteer for this event would be paid overtime. The bank’s position was stated in a media release issued on Monday in response to allegations from the Banking, Insurance and General Workers Union (BIGWU) that RBC was extending workers’ hours to include Saturdays. The release said the event, which is scheduled to begin next month, is aimed at easing the stress of elderly customers who visit the bank to cash their pension cheques on the Monday after the month-end. The bank said, “We have asked employees to volunteer for the additional paid shift so that we can support this special event. Read more here

VSEP for LNG workers today

Admitting to facing the toughest time in its 20-year history, energy giant Atlantic is now cutting seven per cent of its workforce, less than 50 workers, as it faces collapsed energy prices and an unprecedented natural gas shortfall. The decision to cut jobs was made public yesterday, just days after Atlantic’s Chief Executive Officer Nigel Darlow told the company’s ninth annual Atlantic CEO awards that T&T would remain “the most competitive LNG producers in the world, despite the current challenges with massive gas supply shortfall impacting its operations.” In a statement issued yesterday, Atlantic’s media communications officer Billson Hainsley said VSEP packages will be offered to permanent staff from today. At least 50 workers will be affected. Read more here

AMCHAM T&T president: Confidence impacting the economy

Newly-elected president of the American Chamber of Commerce of Trinidad and Tobago (AMCHAM T&T) Mitchell De Silva is aiming to achieve two goals during his two-year presidency. One is “resetting” the relationship between labour and business. The other is developing a more cordial and effective relationship with Government. He says as it stands now, the relationship between labour and business is at an all-time low. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Slow Justice - Commish Raises Concerns About Pace Of Court System

A total of 1,251 persons were arrested and charged with murder since January last year, but Police Commissioner George Quallo has raised concerns that the majority of them may not see the inside of a prison cell because of the snail's pace at which Jamaica's judicial system operates. Quallo used his first press conference since he was appointed in April to complain that even after police investigators are successful in getting witnesses to testify in murder trials, the cases still take an average of seven years to be ventilated in court. "If this trend continues, the 967 persons we arrested for murder last year and the 284 we arrested up to June 10 this year are not likely to face trial until 2024," Quallo lamented. Read more here

Guyana expels some Haitians

Several Haitians who arrived in Guyana several weeks ago have been asked to leave the country because investigators suspect they plan to move on to another destination, the immigration authorities said on Monday. Winston Felix, the minister of immigration and citizenship, said that eight adults and six children were already sent back to Haiti last Thursday after upgrading their return tickets, HaitiLibre reported. Felix said efforts were being made to return eight others, including some children, who have no money to pay for their plane tickets, explaining, "The rationale for having them depart is based on a police investigation and the advice given by the police legal adviser," while declining to give details of the evidence. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Raqqa battle: 'Staggering' civilian toll in strikes on IS

UN war crimes investigators say US-led coalition air strikes on Islamic State militants in the Syrian city of Raqqa are causing "staggering loss of life". Coalition warplanes are supporting an offensive on the IS stronghold that was launched last week by an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters. Since then, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have taken territory to the west, east and north of the city. The battle has already led to 160,000 civilians fleeing their homes. Read more here

London fire live updates: Six dead and number expected to rise

London's Metropolitan Police have confirmed six deaths following a huge blaze that's engulfed a residential apartment block in West London. Follow here for live updates.

14th June 2017

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