Daily Brief - Wednesday 25th January, 2017


Jamaican Stabbed

Murder victim number 43 for this month in this country is a foreign nation. Jamaican Khaliq ‘Demar’ Blake, 33, originally from Kingston, was found stabbed and barely alive at a guest house in Woodbrook on Monday night.  According to a police report, at about 11 pm, Blake who lived in Norman Drive, Kingston was found in a pool of blood in a room at a guest house on Alberto Street in Woodbrook. He was stabbed in the chest and arms. The foreign national was taken to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital where he succumbed while undergoing emergency surgery. A report was made to police and officers are searching for a man in connection with this murder. Blake’s body was taken to the Forensic Science Centre in St James for an autopsy. News of his murder sent shockwaves among his social media friends who yesterday took to Facebook to offer condolences and prayers. Read more here

Aviation pioneer dies in fall

Local aviation pioneer Harripersad Dass (Harry), chairman and chief executive officer of Briko Air Services Ltd, died over the weekend after suffering injuries from an accidental fall in Miami. His death came as a shock to his three children, family members and staff at Briko Air Services located at Piarco and Camden in Couva. Speaking with the T&T Guardian on Monday at the company in Camden, Couva base, Rooplal Dass, better known as Roops, chief pilot operator and director, said that his brother, who was on vacation, made a significant contribution to the aviation industry in T&T. Harry, who had his private pilot licence and was a qualified engineer, established Briko Air Services Ltd in 1983. The company provides training for private pilots. Harry followed in the footsteps of his uncle, the late Jagnarine Dass. Read more here

Doctor: ‘Macco’ society must help women in trouble

Estranged couples go through “a honeymoon phase” and it is important “for a ‘macco’ society to save women from themselves”. This view was expressed yesterday by secretary of the Association of Psychiatrists of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr Varma Deyalsingh, in light of the murder-suicide of Gasparillo couple Keyon Roberts, 31, and his estranged girlfriend, Christine Joseph, 21. Joseph, a security guard, was found dead with her throat slit on Monday. 
Police believe Roberts killed Joseph and set himself on fire outside the house. Asked to explain what may have happened, Deyalsingh said: “There is something known as the honeymoon phase. Depending on her nature, she could have been going back because of genuine care and concern. Read more here



Questions arise over use of document by senator

Debate on the Finance Bill 2017 in the Senate had to be briefly suspended, after questions arose over the contents of a document which Independent Senator David Small was going to refer to during his contribution to the debate. Government senators said they did not have the document. Finance Minister Colm Imbert said the information which Small was referring to information contained in the report of the Standing Finance Committee of the House of Representatives. He said when the Senate debates money bills, it does not debate that report. Small replied that he had referred to such information in the past but would be guided by Senate President Christine Kangaloo’s ruling on the matter. Kangaloo then suspended the sitting for ten minutes to sort the matter out. Read more here

Result stays 10-2

The Tobago House of Assembly (THA) election results remain the same after the Progressive Democratic Patriots leader Watson Duke lost a recount in the closely contested Goodwood/Belle Garden electoral district yesterday. The party won two of the 12 available seats in Monday’s election, but felt it had a chance via a recount after People’s National Movement candidate Hayden Spencer (953) only beat the PDP’s Dr Faith Yisrael (948) by five votes. Speaking to the media during a press conference at the PSA’s office in Scarborough before the count yesterday, Duke said the results were too close for comfort and it was a cause for concern. Read more here

Political analysts divided

Political analysts disagreed yesterday on whether Watson Duke’s two-seat win at the THA elections was a blow to the ruling People’s National Movement (PNM). Economist Indera Sagewan-Alli felt that Duke’s capturing two seats was a rejection of the total control of the PNM.
“I would say that the one place that the PNM feels very strong is Tobago, so this is a severe blow,” Sagewan-Alli said. “The PNM will now have or should now have a mandate to take stock of the current state of governance and look at what they are clearly not doing,” she said. Read more here



Cemex moves to take control of TCL

Mexican cement giant CEMEX yesterday said it has so far received acceptances totalling more than sixty-seven percent of the value of Trinidad Cement Limited (TCL) in Trinidad and Tobago on the day the amended offer by its subsidiary Sierra Trading Limited closed in this country and in Barbados. According to TCL Chairman Wilfred Espinet, a two-week extension for acceptances was granted by the authorities in Jamaica. The share price of TCL stock closed at $5.50 in trading on the Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange yesterday, up fifteen cents from its opening price of $5.35. The stock closed at $3.38 on December 1, 2016, gaining 13 cents in that day’s trading. Sierra Trading on Monday January 9, 2017, announced a change to its takeover bid for TCL, increasing its price to TT$5.07, which it said was a fifty percent premium and including the option for shareholders in this country and in Jamaica to be paid in US dollars by February 3. Read more here

Energy leaders optimistic about T&T

Two senior energy executives say there are signs of prosperity in the sector even with the price of oil hovering around US $50 per barrel and declines in the T&T economy. One of them, Vincent Pereira, chairman of the T&T Energy Chamber and president of BHP Billiton T&T, said there can be increased competitiveness if improvements are made to the fiscal framework, gas policy and pricing, efficiency and institutional effectiveness. He said the challenge is to ensure T&T can compete with other oil and gas provinces and attract investment capital. Pereira, speaking at the T&T Energy Conference at the Hyatt Regency in Port-of-Spain, welcomed the announcement by Finance Minister Colm Imbert of plans to change the Supplemental Petroleum Tax (SPT) to a profit-based system. Read more here

Huawei unveils Mate 9 at Las Vegas show

Huawei Consumer Business Group Latin America earlier this month presented the long-awaited Huawei Mate 9 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The new member of the Mate series gives business-focused users an innovative Android experience which, thanks to its exceptional processing speed, can be considered one of the fastest in the market today, Huawei said in a statement. In addition, this new Huawei device includes innovative fast charging (SuperCharge) technologies and new features for the operating system interface. Read more here



Trade fraud coordination strengthened in Puerto Rico

US Customs and Border Protection Director of Field Operations Marcelino Borges and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Ricardo Mayoral signed an agreement on January 20 to form the San Juan Trade Enforcement Coordination Center (TECC). The San Juan TECC is the first federal partnership of its kind in Puerto Rico and tenth in the nation to combat fraudulent foreign trade. The center will identify, inspect and investigate foreign trade suspected of being fraudulently introduced into Puerto Rico. It will initially focus on identifying violations in the areas of misclassification, under evaluation, free trade zone fraud, free trade agreement fraud, transshipment, trade-base money laundering and broker compliance. The center will pursue both criminal and civil violations. “This agreement ups the ante for HSI and CBP working together in Puerto Rico and better positions us to fight against fraudulent trade practices and get back stolen duties owed to the government,” Borges said. Read more here

Murders Up 1,100% - Hanover Homicides Skyrocket In First 21 Days Of 2017; Western Jamaica Records Almost 50% Of Killings Overall

Having ended 2016 with the worst per-capita murder rate in Jamaica, the parishes of Hanover, St James and Westmoreland have started 2017 in the same vein, accounting for 43 per cent of the 82 murders committed across the island in the first 21 days of this year. Last year, the three parishes (along with St Elizabeth), the epicentre of the deadly lottery scam, recorded a little more than 450 murders at well above the national average of 50 murders for every 100,000 people. This year, data contained in the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s Periodic and Serious Crimes Review for January 1-21 show a similar trend in the western end of the island, with Hanover the most worrying. Read more here



Donald Trump: 'We will build Mexico border wall'

Donald Trump has said a "big day" is planned on national security, including an announcement to build a wall on the border between the US and Mexico. The new US president is expected to sign several executive orders regarding immigration and border security over the next few days. They are likely to include the "extreme vetting" of people coming from seven predominantly Muslim countries in the Middle East and Africa. This would restrict refugee access. Mr Trump tweeted: "Big day planned on national security tomorrow. Among many other things, we will build the wall!" Building a 2,000-mile wall along the Mexican border was one of his key proposals during the presidential election campaign. Read more here

President Donald Trump's thin skin

President Donald Trump's refusal to let sleeping dogs lie now threatens to harm his presidency. His revival of debunked claims that millions of illegal voters are to blame for him losing the popular vote to Hillary Clinton -- in essence challenging the legitimacy of his election -- is overshadowing the otherwise fast start he has made in honoring campaign promises and changing America. Read more here


25th January 2017


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