Daily Brief - Thursday 13th September, 2018

NEWS

Take social media claims with ‘pinch of salt’

The husband of kidnap victim Natalie Pollonais has spoken out on an audio file circulating on social media by a woman who purports to be telling the story of Natalie’s kidnapping. Jason Pollonais said the public should be careful of believing everything they hear or read on social media as much of the story told in the audio file is wildly exaggerated. Natalie Pollonais, 47, was kidnapped on September 6 while on her way to a friend’s Palmiste home by two men in police uniform. A ransom demand was made, but after Natalie’s rescue on Monday night, Police Commissioner Gary Griffith said no ransom was paid. Read more here

Cops detain 4th suspect in Pollonais kidnapping

Po­lice have de­tained a fourth sus­pect in con­nec­tion with the kid­nap­ping of Na­tal­ie Pol­lon­ais. Speak­ing at the week­ly po­lice press brief­ing at the Po­lice Ad­min­is­tra­tion Build­ing in Port-of-Spain this morn­ing, pub­lic in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer ASP Michael Jack­man re­vealed that in­ves­ti­ga­tors ar­rest­ed a civil­ian in South Trinidad. The sus­pect now joins a busi­ness­man and two po­lice of­fi­cers who were ar­rest­ed fol­low­ing the T&T Po­lice Ser­vice's res­cue of Pol­lon­ais on Mon­day night. Pol­lon­ais, 49, of Palmiste, is the wife of Ja­son Pol­lon­ais, a di­rec­tor of the South Oropouche-based In­land and Off­shore Con­trac­tors Ltd (IO­CL) Last Thurs­day she dis­ap­peared af­ter vis­it­ing the Cen­tral Ath­let­ic Club gym and some stores at C3 Cen­tre, San Fer­nan­do. Read more here

It was a normal day

What began as a “perfectly nor­mal day” for kidnap victim Nata­lie Pollonais turned out to be the beginning of a four-day nightmare of being held against her will. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Agri Minister wants flood grant audit

Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries Clarence Rhambarat has formally written to the Ministry of Finance requesting an audit into the payment of flood assistance grants to farmers in excess of $75,000 in order to provide clarity and transparency behind the process, according to a release issued by the ministry this morning. Rhambarat made the remarks last Tuesday at the ministry's corporate headquarters in Chaguanas and said while he was not directly responsible for the processing and payment of claims relating to the damage of crops, he was curious about the inner workings of the system of how claims are processed and made available to farmers. Read more here

UNC head slammed by neutrals, lauded by party

“A new low!” That’s how Down­town Own­ers and Mer­chants As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Gre­go­ry Aboud de­scribes the Oreo com­ment made by Op­po­si­tion Leader Kam­la Per­sad-Bisses­sar in ref­er­ence to Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley yes­ter­day, as crit­i­cisms against the com­ment which has been dubbed “racist” con­tin­ued to grow. But the Op­po­si­tion Unit­ed Na­tion­al Con­gress is de­fend­ing Per­sad-Bisses­sar, say­ing her state­ments had ab­solute­ly noth­ing to do with race. One Op­po­si­tion MP mean­while told the T&T Guardian he is “proud” of the UNC leader. Aboud told the T&T Guardian the state­ment sig­nalled “a com­mu­ni­ca­tion of weak­ness” on the part of the Op­po­si­tion leader. Read more here

Kamla: No racism in ‘Oreo’ statement

Several calls have been made for Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar to apologise for her description of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley as an “Oreo” but she has maintained it was not racist. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

China Harbour’s ties that bind

Last Friday, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley boasted that a new dry-docking facility in La Brea, a joint venture between TT and China, will create 5,000 jobs and add seven per cent to the local economy. Beyond that, Rowley was vague. The MoU was signed between the National Infrastructure Development Corporation (NIDCO) and the China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), an important part of diversifying the TT economy and hopefully, offset the fallout from the closure of the Petrotrin refinery. Read more here

Financial lessons from Petrotrin’s demise

Many were in tears, some were walk­ing out with card­board box­es full with their per­son­al be­long­ings. Oth­ers were ex­chang­ing per­son­al con­tacts and some knew that they would be see­ing each oth­er for the last time. Every­one was in shock, dazed and con­fused. No, it’s not Petrotrin. That was a scene 10 years ago al­most to the day. On Sep­tem­ber 15, 2008, the fi­nan­cial firm Lehman Broth­ers filed for what is still the largest ever bank­rupt­cy in the US. The col­lapse of Lehman came dur­ing a month of in­tense cri­sis that saw firms like Bear Sterns and Wash­ing­ton Mu­tu­al sub­sumed by oth­er fi­nan­cial en­ti­ties. Read more here

Cinema set for IPO

CinemaOne, the parent company of the Digicel IMAX movie theatre, will become the first small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) to be listed on the Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange’s SME Market, since its establishment in 2012. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Messy Affair - PAAC Chair Says NESoL Mix-Up Clear As Mud!

As Parliament's Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) continues its probe of the operations of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Energy, technocrats struggled to provide details about the $60-million verbal contract issued to Peak Energy Solutions, whose sole shareholder was Constantine Gordon, the former general manager of Nationwide News Network (NNN). Gordon resigned amid the deepening scandal at the ministry, where representatives were again called before the PAAC to answer questions about corruption, nepotism, and cronyism at the ministry, which has seen the removal of Andrew Wheatley, the former minister. Several heads of public bodies under the ministry have also been removed and boards dissolved. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Hurricane Florence will slash the Carolinas today in the opening act of a 3-day, coastal disaster

Hurricane Florence's wrath begins today. The Carolina coasts can expect winds topping 80 mph late Thursday afternoon. And that's just the prelude to untold days of misery. Don't be fooled by the fact that Florence has weakened slightly to a Category 2 hurricane; categories only denote the speed of sustained winds. What makes this hurricane extremely dangerous are the deadly storm surges, mammoth coastal flooding and historic rainfall expected far inland. Read more here

Skripal suspects: 'We were just tourists in Salisbury'

Two men named as suspects in the poisoning of a Russian ex-spy in the UK have said they were merely tourists. The men, named as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, told the RT channel that they went sightseeing in Salisbury but returned to London within an hour. They are accused by the UK of trying to kill Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in March. The UK has described them as agents of Russia's military intelligence service, the GRU. Read more here

 

13th September 2018

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