Daily Brief - Wednesday 19th April, 2017


Rats On Remand

Fearful of an outbreak of the deadly leptospirosis disease, prisoners yesterday begged the authorities to deal swiftly and arrest what they say is a serious rat infestation in the nation’s penal institutions. Prisoners contacted Newsday, from behind bars, to complain that “large, nasty” rats are everywhere including in the eating areas, in cells, in bathrooms, in the kitchen, in the prison officers’ quarters...even in prisoner’s beds. Videos recorded by Remand Yard, Golden Grove, Arouca prisoners on their cellular phones were sent to Newsday showing the rodents going about their business. Prisoners said the problem of rats has always existed, but since late last year the infestation has grown worse. The rats have become bold, prisoners said, and are out and about at nights when prisoners are asleep and prison officers are off-duty. Read more here

Escape From Syria

On April 6, when United States President Donald Trump ordered that US warships launch 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at an airbase in Homs, Syria, there was panic in Trinidad, 10,038 kilometres away. Many Syrians who live and work in Trinidad did not sleep that night of the attack, their eyes were closed only for fervent prayers that their loved ones were still alive.
Syrian-born Michael Abdullah, 27, who works as a pharmacist in Trinidad, shared his heart-rending story with the Express—and how Trump's attack on his home city of Homs left him and many Syrians angry. Read more here

$.2 million bail for accused in kayak rape case

A 21-year-old Salybia tradesman charged with a sexual offence against a minor was granted $200,000 bail by a Sangre Grande magistrate yesterday. Sherlon Pierre appeared before Senior Magistrate Debra Quintyne in the Sangre Grande First Court charged with one count of sexual penetration under Section 18 of the Children’s Act. The charge was laid by Cpl Felix of the Sangre Grande Child Protection Unit. When the charge was read to Pierre he was not called upon to plead as the charge was laid indictably. Read more here



Govt won’t be blackmailed

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley yesterday declared that as Government moves expeditiously to resolve disruptions on the domestic sea bridge, it will not be blackmailed into committing taxpayers to an unfavourable contract to keep the Super Fast Galicia, for another five years. In a telephone interview on CNC3, Rowley agreed with former Transport Minister Stephen Cadiz that, “the cargo ferry service to Tobago is vital and essential.” He also agreed with Cadiz that, “there has to be an answer to the question as to who pulled the Galicia off the route and created this crisis for Tobago.” “The only assurance I can give now to the people of Tobago is that this government will do everything logically, logistically and feasibly possible to try to get Tobago’s essential service in place,” Rowley said as he recalled that he met on Monday in Tobago with members of the Tobago Chamber of Commerce and gave them this same assurance. Read more here

Rambharat: Social media being monitored

Minister of Agriculture, Lands and Fisheries Clarence Rambharat says game wardens have been monitoring social media as several hunters continue to post photographs of dead animals after the closure of the hunting season. Despite the closure of the hunting season on February 28, several hunters still take to social media to show off their latest catch of wildlife. The latest photograph that caused a stir on social media was what seemed to be a dead ocelot posted for sale. Many have also posted photographs of dead iguanas and manicou on various sites. Read more here

Sinanan ‘confident’ Govt will find seabridge solution

Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan said yesterday he is “confident” the Government will find an interim solution for the Trini­dad-Tobago seabridge following the departure of the MV Super-Fast Galicia next Friday. Sinanan is expected to deliver news on the way forward at a news conference today. The minister confirmed he has again met with the board of the Port Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (PATT) and said the board was also yesterday in caucus, following which it was expected to deliver an evaluation of the situation and recommendations on the way forward to him. Sinanan said the board is “looking at all options”, but did not want to jump ahead of what would be said at today’s news briefing at the Ministry of Works, Port of Spain, at 1 p.m. Read more here



Bright future for oil and gas in TT

Despite multinational energy giant BP (bpTT) pulling out recently from fabricating its Angelin platform in Trinidad, Petrotrin chairman Professor Andrew Jupiter is expressing confidence in the future of this country’s oil and fabricating industries. Speaking at an Energy Symposium last week at the University of Trinidad and Tobago’s Pt Lisas campus, Jupiter said various stakeholders in the oil and gas industries, including contractors and labour organisations, must work together to ensure survival of the fabricating industry. “We have done it before where all parties have come together and I still believe there is a future in the fabrication industry in Trinidad. “I know clearly it was not easy at first. It was tough to ensure we do it (build platforms) in Trinidad and clearly after all of that time, there is no reason why it should not continue and I think it will continue but you have to look at cost. You have to look at cost of doing it in Trinidad. We have key players, all these guys who were involved in the Angelin project. I think we can do it again.” The symposium was titled, ‘Enhancing Oil and Gas Production in Trinidad and Tobago’, with speakers focusing on several oil recovery methods including polymer flooding and carbon dioxide injection. Read more here

IMF forecasts economic growth

A resilient China, rising commodity prices and sturdy financial markets are offering a sunnier outlook for the global economy and helping dispel the gloom that has lingered since the Great Recession ended. That’s the picture sketched yesterday by the International Monetary Fund, which predicts that the world economy will grow 3.5 per cent this year, up from 3.1 per cent in 2016. The IMF’s latest outlook for 2017 is a slight upgrade from the 3.4 per cent global growth it had forecast in January. The IMF expects the US economy to grow 2.3 per cent, up from 1.6 per cent in 2016; the 19-country eurozone to expand 1.7 per cent, the same as last year; Japan to grow 1.2 per cent, up from 1 per cent; and China to expand 6.6 per cent, down from 6.7 per cent in 2016. Read more here

All talk, no action

It is incomprehensible that after more than 100 years as a unified twin-island State, the central Government sitting in Port of Spain cannot come up with reliable formulae for adequately servicing the basic needs of citizens residing in Tobago, dependent as they are on Trinidad for almost everything, from budgetary support to air- and seabridges, water and electricity, education, health etc. Read more here



$100 'Mockery' - Judge Ridicules Tesha Miller Fine; Lawmakers Call It Shameful

A parish judge yesterday mocked the $100 maximum fine the law allowed her to impose on reputed gang leader Tesha Miller after he pleaded guilty to making a false declaration to Jamaican immigration officials. Some lawmakers, too, have expressed shock that such a maximum penalty remains on the books, saying it's a "shame", and the "sleeping" Parliament has to do something quickly. "The paper [the indictment outlining the charges] costs more money than the sentence," said Parish Judge Sancia Burrell before imposing the fine. Read more here



UK Parliament expected to approve snap election

Members of the British Parliament are widely expected on Wednesday to approve Prime Minister Theresa May's plan to hold an early general election on June 8. May made a unexpected announcement Tuesday that she would seek a "snap" election less than halfway through her government's five-year term, with the aim of gaining a stronger mandate for the country's historic withdrawal from the European Union. The announcement marked a U-turn for May, who had repeatedly said she would not seek an early vote. Read more here

General election 2017: May says it strengthens Brexit hand

A snap general election will help the UK make a success of Brexit and provide long-term certainty, Theresa May says. Defending her decision to seek a poll on 8 June, the prime minister told the BBC she had "reluctantly" changed her mind on the issue in recent weeks. Asking the public to trust her, she said a new mandate would give her the "strongest hand" in talks and make it hard for people to "frustrate" EU exit. The move is set to be authorised by MPs in the House of Commons later. The early poll is expected to secure the two-thirds Commons majority it requires to go ahead following Mrs May's surprise announcement on Tuesday. The next general election had been expected in 2020, but the Fixed Term Parliaments Act allows for one to be held earlier if two-thirds of MPs back the move. Read more here

19th April 2017


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