Daily Brief - Wednesday 28th June, 2017

NEWS

Justice Seepersad Scolds PP

There were harsh words of condemnation for the former People’s Partnership government from High Court judge Frank Seepersad for its failure to convene the Defence Council of the TT Defence Force to deal with complaints brought by serving officers. Seepersad’s disapproval of the council’s failure to meet for over five years came as he ruled in favour of an army captain who sought a hearing of the council in August 2014 on an allegation by a senior officer that he faked his sick leave when he was seriously injured in a traffic accident earlier that year. Andrew Seesahai resigned from the regiment on July 22, 2014, but alleged that when he questioned his commanding officer on the status of his resignation letter, he was threatened and nothing had been done about his request to resign or for resettlement. Read more here

Penal family gets help to rebuild

Braving the pouring rain yesterday, Sameer Ali began trying to piece together the small wooden home he shares with his wife and five children which was destroyed by floods from Tropical Storm Bret last week. Ali, his common-law wife Ramrajie Chance and the children had to be rescued from the same house in Sunrees Road, Penal last week Tuesday when rising flood waters trapped them inside. Ramrajie, 32, is pregnant with her sixth child. The flood water, some four feet high, saturated the plyboard walls and wooden floor, leaving the house uninhabitable. Read more here

Doubles man charged with murder

A 24 year old Claxton Bay doubles vendor has been charged with the murder of Couva businessman Mahendra Ramlogan. Homicide investigators received instructions by the Director of Public Prosecutions on Tuesday to lay the charge. Ramlogan, 42, was shot multiple times on Friday and died at hospital. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Mayaro MP vex with govt after Bret

Over a week after Tropical Storm Bret left widespread damage, Mayaro MP Rushton Paray has lamented that central government had not yet delivered on promised relief supplies to the area. The storm which packed winds of over 65 kilometres per hour, dumped between 50 and 100 millimetres of rainfall, which resulted in severe flooding and blown-off roofs. In the Mayaro/Rio Claro region there were reports of over 100 roofs being either partially or wholly blown off. In a telephone interview yesterday, Paray said while the response from Mayaro businesses has been good, he was disappointed with government’s response to the natural disaster. Read more here

Bourdain crime piece an indictment on T&T—Solomon

US travel guide Anthony Bourdain’s recent documentary on T&T, which should have been an opportunity to showcase local food and culture, unfortunately turned out to be more of a crime documentary on the country, says Opposition Senator Daniel Solomon. “It tended to focus a lot on crime. At the end of it one had to ask, had we not been Trinidadians looking at that video, would we have wanted to come to T&T under those conditions?” Solomon added in the Senate yesterday. “It was a sad indictment on T&T... we have to look at the message we’re sending out on behalf of T&T.” Read more here

 

BUSINESS

National Innovation Policy awaiting Cabinet approval

As Government seeks to realign national goals to grow and sustain competitive business operations in the face of open and highly dynamic global markets, much emphasis and greater efforts are now being channeled into increasing research, development and innovation in T&T. This, even as the National Innovation policy which has been on the table since 2016, is currently before the Cabinet awaiting approval. Aiming to create funding and finalise arrangements which will significantly increase innovation in T&T though collaboration among government, tertiary institutions and the private sector, the policy is being aligned with the Diversification Strategy and Roadmap and the Draft National Development Strategy now being referred to as Vision 2030. Read more here

Food-crop prices higher after Bret

Customers are already paying more for agricultural produce and prices are expected to climb higher. Farmers have lost thousands of dollars in crops after the effects of Tropical Storm Bret last week. President of the Agricultural Society Dhano Sookoo said yesterday food prices have already gone up given the great demand for goods and limited availability. Sookoo said the increase is expected to continue until farmers have re-established themselves and are able to harvest crops once again. Government has allocated $25 million in relief funds to assist those affected by the tropical storm, including farmers. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Portia's Journey - I Endured It All, Says Retiring MP

Declaring she has "endured it all", including claims she was illiterate, Portia Simpson Miller, Jamaica's first female minister, has bid goodbye to representational politics, 43 years after her entrance as a councillor in the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation. Yesterday, the Parliament, in a joint sitting, paid tribute to the 71-year-old who used her last address to the nation's legislature to track how she got elected to the House in 1976, her nine terms representing St Andrew South Western, her election to head the People's National Party and subsequent elevation as head of government. "It has been quite a journey. I have endured it all - the ridicule, the victories, and defeats. But I have stood tall and remained focused," she said. "I have consistently been able to do so out of the fundamental belief that good will always overcome evil." Read more here

Murder trial of Suriname president to resume this week

A military court in Suriname is to resume the murder trial of President Desi Bouterse for his alleged role in the 1982 murders of 15 political opponents of his then military government. Resumption of the criminal proceedings is scheduled for Wednesday when Bouterse, along with 23 co-defendants, is to appear in court after an appeal by the prosecution was rejected by the Court of Justice last month. When the trial was in its closing stage in June 2016, by invoking Article 148 of the Constitution, the government sought to stop the proceedings, claiming that continuation posed grave risks to the country’s national security. Intelligence reports, according to the government, suggested that supporters of Bouterse’s political party could resort to violence if he is was convicted. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Donald Trump has a chance to step up for a signature win

Your turn, Mr. President. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's failure to ram through an Obamacare repeal bill before the July 4 recess does more than reveal tribal divisions ravaging the Republican Party. It also highlights President Donald Trump's role -- or lack of one -- in forging a GOP majority to squeeze the bill through the Senate, on an issue that has grave implications for the fate of the rest of his presidency. Almost as soon as McConnell shelved a bid to vote on the measure this week, senators piled into a blue Capitol Police bus to head down to the White House for a brainstorming session with Trump. Read more here

Venezuela crisis: Helicopter launches attack on Supreme Court

Venezuela's Supreme Court has been attacked by grenades dropped from a helicopter in what President Nicolás Maduro called a "terrorist attack". Footage on social media shows a police helicopter circling over the city before shots and a loud bang are heard. The police officer said to have piloted the stolen aircraft issued a statement denouncing the "criminal government". His whereabouts are unknown. It comes after mass protests against the political and economic crisis. The Supreme Court is regularly criticised by the Venezuelan opposition for its rulings which bolster Mr Maduro's hold on power. Read more here

28th June 2017

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