Daily Brief- Friday 12th May, 2023


Body found in Queen's Park Savannah identified

The woman found dead in the Queen's Park Savannah on Monday, has been positively identified as 24-year-old mother of five, Gabrielle Raphael. Her father Anthony Castillo, speaking on Thursday at his Covigne Road Extension, Diego Martin home, said he was not initially concerned when she did not return home as she had a habit of spending time with friends without telling relatives. Castillo said he last saw Raphael on Saturday afternoon when she left to take her one-year-old son to his father in Maraval. After leaving the child with relatives, she was never seen alive again. Read more here

Bandits steal tents from Maracas Lookout stalls

Vendors who operate at the Maracas Lookout have now hired a watchman to look after their belongings, after thieves made off with their tents on Wednesday. Speaking to Guardian Media yesterday, Bobby Ali, of Eden’s Sweet and Sour Hotspot, said he was still coming to terms with what happened. Ali said, “Well, actually, we were very shocked after being here for 22 years, and nothing of this nature has ever happened. To come here and see the tents gone, we were speechless. I learned of this incident at five o’clock in the morning, and three hours later, I put up this tent, and I have a brand-new tent being constructed, as we speak.” With crime now knocking on their doors, Ali said they were now hiring an extra eye at night. Read more here



Browne wants visa-free travel between India, Trinidad and Tobago

Minister of Foreign and Caricom Affairs Dr Amery Browne has proposed the negotiation of an agreement for visa-free travel between India and TT. He made the proposal to Guatemala's ambassador to India Dr Manoj Kumar Mohapatra. Browne and Mohapatra met in Guatemala on Wednesday ahead of the 28th Ordinary Meeting of the Ministerial Council of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) and the ninth ACS Summit. In a press release, the ministry said the two wish to strengthen bilateral talks. Read more here

House sitting ends in chaos over Thomas question

Fiery exchanges between Opposition and Government members ended Wednesday night’s sitting of the House of Representatives, with accusations and name-calling flying. This after UNC MPs protested statements by Government House Leader Camille Robinson-Regis on the withdrawal of a question on the agenda—and her statements that UNC leader, Siparia MP Kamla Persad- Bissessar, was not there when that occurred. It occurred as Wednesday’s debate and the sitting was concluding. Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley wasn’t present for the clash. Deputy House Speaker Esmond Forde had asked about the question as the sitting was ending. The question was withdrawn by Oropouche East MP Roodal Moonilal. Arouca Maloney MP Robinson-Regis, who noted it was withdrawn, met with query from one UNC MP on the whereabouts of the Minister to answer the question. Forde, who noted the MP had withdrawn the question, said he was proceeding to House Leader Robinson- Regis. One UNC MP shouted that she could have answered earlier in the debate. Read more here



Massy profits rise 18.66% in first half

In his last chairman’s report for group, Massy Holdings chairman Robert Bermudez reported the company’s profit after tax from continuing operations increased by 18.66 per cent to $353.58 million (US$52.5 million) for the six months ended March 31, 2023, compared to the same period in 2022. This represented a $55.62 million increase over its performance for the same period last year. Massy’s revenue for the period from October 1, 2022 to March 31, 2023 was $6.79 billion, a 10.64 per cent over the $6.14 billion the group generated for the same period in 2022. The Massy chairman said strong profit before tax in its integrated retail portfolio of 20 per cent and in its motors and machines portfolio of 11 per cent compensated for the profit before tax decline in the gas products portfolio of 11 per cent in the first half of its 2023 financial year. Read more here

Lee: Have citizens been overcharged at fuel pumps?

OPPOSITION Chief Whip Dr David Lee has called on the Government to state clearly whether citizens have been “overcharged” at retail fuel pumps for the past seven months. Lee, the Pointe-a-Pierre MP, was contributing to Wednesday’s mid-year budget debate in the Parliament, where he noted that for the last seven months, oil has averaged US$79 dollars per barrel but local fuel prices were based on an oil price of US$90, out of the 2023 budget. The Opposition’s shadow minister for energy reminded the Lower House that Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and Finance Minister Colm Imbert were both on record in the Parliament’s Hansard as having stated what fuel prices should be when the price of oil reaches US$80. Read more here



Pomeroon coffee industry to be reinvigorated

WITH the aim of transforming the Pomeroon region into a major food hub and exporter, plans are underway to reignite the coffee industry and commence the cultivation of high valued crops. This was according to President, Dr Irfaan Ali, during a meeting with residents and farmers in Malborough, on Thursday. He said that over $2 billion has already been invested into advancing the agriculture sector in the Pomeroon region. “We need to ensure that agriculture is sustainable and resilient. One of the projects we are working on for the Pomeroon is to see how we can get big investors with huge capital to work with the small farmers,” the Head of State said, adding: “We want to reignite the coffee industry, we want to expand the coconut industry and the citrus so that the Pomeroon can be an important export location for these three commodities.” Read more here



Ukraine claims gains in Bakhmut after Russia denials

Ukraine says it has recaptured ground in Bakhmut, a rare advance after months of grinding Russian gains in the eastern city. Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Malyar said Ukrainian forces advanced two kilometres (1.2 miles) in a week. The claims signal a momentum shift in Bakhmut - but more widely, there is no clear evidence of the much-anticipated Ukrainian counter-offensive. Russia has denied reports of Ukrainian gains, after claims from both sides. "The individual declarations on Telegram about a 'breakthrough' on several points on the frontline do not correspond to reality," Russia's defence ministry said. Read more here


12th May 2023


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