Daily Brief - Wednesday 23rd August, 2017

NEWS

Missing hiker found dead off precipice

A family’s hope to find missing hiker Richard Baird alive faded yesterday when his decomposing body was found down a 600-foot precipice in Aripo. Baird, 55, went missing on Saturday after a hike to Aripo waterfall with a 65-member party from Fitness Focus club. The hikers set off at 5.54 am on the five mile trek to the waterfall, spending the afternoon there before preparing to return to Mt Poui Road, Arima, where the hike began, at about 5.30 pm. When they got to the starting point they realised Baird was not with them. “He was an experienced hiker,” Trevor Pantin, Baird’s elder brother told reporters at the Aripo Community Centre, where relatives assembled after learning he had been found. It was not the news they had prayed for. Read more here

Girl, 4, killed in Valencia accident

A two-vehicle accident on the Valencia Stretch on Monday night claimed the life of a four-year-old girl and left another man warded in a critical condition at the Port-of -Spain General Hospital. Lexie Baptiste, of Matura Village, Matura, succumbed to her injuries while doctors were trying their best to save her at the Sangre Grande Hospital. She was reported to have suffered a fractured skull and other bodily injuries in the accident. Govindra Akaloo, who was seated in the back right seat of the B15 vehicle the family was travelling in, suffered head, facial and body injuries. The other members of the Baptiste family suffered minor injuries and were treated and discharged. Read more here

SEA grad, 12, aces CXC English

Four days after 12-year-old Kyle Matthew Persad wrote the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) examination he wrote the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) English examination. He gained a Grade One in the exam usually done by pupils in Form Five. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Rowley’s ‘crooked’ announcement undermines sole investigator

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s concession that something “crooked” took place in procuring the Ocean Flower II undermines and invalidates any of the findings the sole investigator appointed to investigate will produce, says UNC MP Dr Fuad Khan. He said yesterday the suspension of the Port Authority’s (PATT) chief executive officer after the appointment of the sole investigator, businessman Christian Mouttet to investigate the fiasco, “suggests that the culprit, or a scapegoat, has already been identified.” As sole investigator, Khan said, it was expected Mouttet would have provided an explanation of what transpired in the negotiations and identify those involved. Rowley’s view a week after Mouttet’s appointment, Khan said, raises the question as to whether Mouttet’s investigation “is meant to uncover the truth surrounding the matter or merely discover facts that may be woven into the narrative being spun by the prime minister and his administration.” He questioned whether stakeholders and the nation can have any confidence in the PATT’s current board acquiring a new vessel after the fiasco occurred under its watch. Read more here

PM’s entourage caught in chaos

The Prime Minister’s security detail and other members of his entourage were among passengers who were told to disembark the T&T Express yesterday morning at the Scarborough Port, following the sudden cancellation of its sailing to Trinidad. However, at about 4.41 pm passengers finally boarded for sailing to Trinidad after the technical problem which forced the delay was rectified. The initial sailing of the vessel was scheduled for 6.30 am and expected to arrive in Port-of-Spain (PoS) at 10.30 am yesterday. It was then expected to depart PoS at 4 pm and arrive back in Scarborough at about 8 pm. However, the return sailing was cancelled due to the issues with the vessel. Read more here

  

BUSINESS

Ian De Souza new CEO of Sagicor Cave Hill School of Business and Management

The University of the West Indies (The UWI), Cave Hill Campus says Ian De Souza has been appointed executive director and CEO of the Sagicor Cave Hill School of Business and Management with effect from October 9. In a statement issued on Monday, The UWI said De Souza comes to the position with a wealth of business knowledge and experience from a career which spans 40 years in the financial and banking sector. “He served 25 years with the Republic Bank Group, spending the last five years as managing director and CEO of Republic Bank (Barbados) Limited. The career banker also held management and executive positions at Bank of Montreal, Toronto, Canada, and Citibank (Trinidad and Tobago) Limited.” Read more here

Be more vigilant

Large sums of money went missing at the Arima Regional Corporation and this should be a warning to all Borough corporations that they must be more transparent and efficient in the way they conduct business according to minister of Rural Development and Local Government Kazim Hosein. “A situation came up in Arima last week Friday and CEO’s I want you all to be vigilant about this serious matter, where some cheques were stolen and actually cash close to $500,000. The Fraud Squad is involved, the person is in custody. You all have to be more careful. The CEO’s must talk to the chairman and the chairman to the CEO,” he said. Hosein spoke yesterday at the signing of Permanent Establishment for 645 Daily Rated workers of the country’s Municipal Corporations at the Ministry’s head office, Kent House, Maraval. Read more here

Will Mr Imbert tax forex transactions?

One of the main unknowns of the 2018 budget, due in less than six weeks, is whether Minister of Finance, Colm Imbert, will follow his Barbadian counterpart in imposing a tax on foreign exchange transactions. Barbadian Finance Minister Christopher Sinckler introduced a 2 per cent fee on all purchases of foreign exchange including over-the-counter cash, bank drafts and wire transfers in a budget speech at the end of May. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

New FLA Fallout - Two Senior Staff Members Axed As MOCA Probes 257 Suspect Firearm Licences

Two senior members of the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) were separated from the agency with immediate effect yesterday as the investigations into corruption at the state agency continued. A third person could be dismissed today, as attempts intensify to clear the agency of persons who might have been involved in questionable activities.

This comes as Gleaner sources say the number of suspicious FLA files submitted to the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Task Force (MOCA) has mushroomed from the 100 initially reported to 257. Gleaner sources say CEO of the FLA, Shane Dalling, met with officials of MOCA yesterday afternoon, and shortly after he emerged from that meeting, word came that the two senior staff members had been separated from the agency, which is engulfed in a web of corruption. Read more here

Bahamas utility board fires CEO

The Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) board of directors on Monday fired the power company’s CEO Pamela Hill. In an interview with The Nassau Guardian, BPL board chairman Darnell Osborne was asked to detail the reason for Hill’s termination, but she said she was not at liberty to divulge that at this time. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Trump on the rampage in Arizona

Donald Trump just showed why even some Republicans question whether he has the temperament and the capacity to serve as President. In an incredible performance at a raucous Arizona rally Tuesday, Trump rewrote the history of his response to violence in Charlottesville and reignited the culture wars. Trump in effect identified himself as the main victim of the furor over the violence in Virginia, berating media coverage for a political crisis that refuses to abate over his rhetoric on race. "They're trying to take away our culture. They're trying to take away our history," Trump said, blaming "weak, weak people" for allowing the removal of statues commemorating the Confederacy. Read more here

Kim Wall: Headless body identified as missing journalist

A headless torso found in waters off Denmark has been identified as missing Swedish journalist Kim Wall, Danish police say. DNA from the torso matched that from Ms Wall's hairbrush and toothbrush. Chief investigator Jens Moller Jensen said that the torso had been weighted down with metal in an apparent attempt to stop it floating. Ms Wall was last seen alive on 10 August as she departed on a submarine trip with inventor Peter Madsen. The submarine sank hours after the search for Ms Wall began, after her partner reported that she had not returned from the trip. Mr Madsen, who designed and built the submarine, was charged with negligent manslaughter. He initially said he had dropped her off safely near Copenhagen, but has since said she died in an accident and that he had "buried" her at sea. Read more here

23rd August 2017

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