Daily Brief - Thursday 13th June, 2019



Proposed pension increases greed’

LEADER of the Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) David Abdulah has called for the cessation and withdrawal of the proposed amendments to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the increase in pension for public officials. Abdulah said it is wrong, self-seeking, selfish and almost greedy for government, both morally and in terms of a proper understanding of pensions, to seek to change pension arrangements to benefit select public officials in this way.

He said pensions are calculated based on basic wage and salary and to include housing and any other kind of allowances is to distort totally the principles upon which pensions are calculated. For more please read

Bypass at Thompson River open

The Division of Infrastructure, Quarries and the Environment (DIQE) has announced that the bypass road at Thompson River, Milford Old Road, Hampden/Lowlands is complete and open to the public. This bypass road was constructed to allow for the maintenance of an alternative route while construction work on the dual lane bridge at Thompson River takes place. During this period, the Division advised drivers to reduce speed when approaching the bypass, as an active construction site is in close proximity.

Secretary of Infrastructure Kwesi DesVignes said last month, “At present the team is preparing to install a Bailey bridge as we prepare a temporary detour adjacent to the existing bridge." For more please read

Sweeping changes for Panorama 2020

FOLLOWING an extraordinary general meeting of Pan Trinbago and its membership on Tuesday at Communications Workers’ Union Hall in Port of Spain, Pan Trinbago president Beverly Ramsey-Moore confirmed sweeping changes to the format of Panorama 2020. To get away from the clashing of pan events with all-inclusive fetes and calypso shows during Carnival, Ramsey-Moore said the new schedule will allow them to spread out Panorama.

“Panorama must not be boxed in by Carnival! We have to create a new experience because we want people to buy in more to the various categories,” she said. While she said the proposed dates are not cast in concrete, the concepts of single pan band category competition being held in November and the small band category completed before the start of the medium and large band competitions, were all agreed to. “Pan Trinbago is set to adopt the changes with immediate effect as agreed by the general membership. That was the decision taken at the meeting,” Ramsey-Moore said. For more please read


Money Muddle - PAAC Questions Contractual Arrangement, Payments To US-Based CMU Consultant


Gail Campbell Dunwell, a United States-based Jamaican, was given a two-year, J$20-million contract last January to serve as a consultant to the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU), and by the end of the first year, she pocketed a shade under J$15 million, or three quarters, of the total contract value. According to documents the CMU turned over to the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) of Parliament, the contract took effect on January 12, 2018, nine days after Campbell Dunwell submitted her first invoice of US$3,050 or J$396,500.

By February 25, she had raked in a total of US$86,188 or J$11 million. CMU President Professor Fritz Pinnock confirmed that Campbell Dunwell directed that some of the payments – a total of J$3.8 million – be made to an account in the name of another woman he identified as Doreen Miller. For more please read


Enough Talk, Time For Action - LaTouche Says Lack Of Tangible Results Causing Interest In Diaspora Conference To Wane


Despite wide-ranging discussions on issues affecting Jamaicans overseas and opportunities for their engagement locally at the biennial Diaspora Conference over the years, a belief that not much comes out of the talks has been fuelling an increased level of apathy towards the event. While organisers are forecasting the 2019 edition set for next week – June 16 to 20 – to be the best staging yet, some persons, including a leading returning residents advocate, are pouring cold water on the event. Addressing a recent Gleaner Editors’ Forum, Percival LaTouche, president of the Jamaica Association for the Resettlement of Returning Residents, described the conference as pure talk and little action, leaving delegates peeved, and, in some cases, completely turned off from attending the event. “Away from the first two [conferences], it is nothing but a grand talk shop. None of the issues raised in any of the subsequent conferences by members of the diaspora [has been] taken up and put into action with deliverables the following year. It’s not picked up in the agenda, and so it continues,” he said. For more please read





Gulf of Oman tanker blasts: Crews rescued safely


Dozens of crew members have been rescued after abandoning two oil tankers hit by explosions in the Gulf of Oman. Iran said it had rescued the 21 crew members on board the Kokuka Courageous and the 23 on the Front Altair. The cause of the explosions in one of the world's busiest oil routes remains unclear and both vessels are still afloat.

The incident comes a month after four oil tankers were attacked off the UAE.


Oil prices rose as much as 4.5% from a near five-month low following Thursday's incident, Bloomberg reports. For more please read



Tory leadership contest: 10 rivals face first ballot of MPs

Tory MPs have voted in the first round of the contest to select a new party leader and the next prime minister.

A secret ballot was held in the House of Commons, with a result expected sometime after 13:00 BST. Outgoing leader Theresa May refused to say which of the 10 contenders she had voted for, telling reporters: "That's none of your business."

Any candidate who fails to secure at least 17 MPs' votes will be eliminated from the contest. Further ballots will be held next week, with the two most popular MPs moving to a run-off of Tory party members. The winner of the contest to succeed Mrs May is expected to be announced in the week of 22 July. For more please read.


13th June 2019


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