Daily Brief - Friday 19th June, 2020


Report flags Carifesta overspending

The Auditor General’s department has flagged incomplete invoices and $12 million in overspending for the hosting of Carifesta XIV in 2019. This was one of the issues discussed Wednesday during a virtual Public Accounts Committee (PAC) meeting with the auditor general’s department and Finance Ministry officials on the auditor general’s report of the public accounts for the financial year 2019. The report stated that total Expenditure of $28,381,830.44 added to bills on hand of $12,355,316.35 was in excess of the 2018/2019 allocation of $28,400,000.00 by an amount of $12,337,146.79. Read more here

Cops shot at every four days—Griffith

Almost every four days, a police officer in Trinidad and Tobago has been shot at in the last five years.This was according to Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith as he responded to criticisms of the police amid recent claims of extra-judicial killings. “In the last five years, there have been 527 occasions where police have been shot at in the last 60 months. You’re speaking about less than every four days, a police officer is shot at. But that is not a concern apparently.  Or that over 5,000 citizens have been killed in the last 12 years, not by police officers.” Griffith also questioned claims that police had killed a man in Carapo although no evidence had been presented that police had been involved. “Not one person has sent video footage, not one person has a photograph. Not one person knows the license plate of the vehicle but they claim that everyone,that many people were there and everyone knew it was police. They said that the individuals who saw the incident of the killing in Carapo, the reason why they knew it was police was because they look like police,” he said. Read more here



Al Rawi: Industrial Court upgrade after elections

Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi said upgrade of the Industrial Court is in train but work will begin after the general elections. “I just want to get over the hump of the election and when we get back into office, I will complete the balance of work that is required,” Al-Rawi told Newsday. He is seeking a second term as the representative for San Fernando West for the People’s National Movement (PNM). Last week the Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) made a case for some attention to be paid to the Industrial Court which the union claims is under resourced and delaying justice for thousands of workers. Read more here

After apology to PM for WhatsApp comment: Faria offers resignation

T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce CEO Gabriel Faria yesterday apologised to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley over comments he (Faria) made against the Government on a private chat which was eventually shared with Rowley. On Wednesday, Rowley took to his Facebook page where he blasted Faria, saying he was using his position to influence voters with his “shallow dismissiveness.” At the time, it was unclear what prompted Rowley’s attack on Faria, as there was no information in the public domain about any harsh comment which Faria which may have prompted such scathing attack by the PM. One senior PNM member had, however, suggested to Guardian Media that an interview Faria did on state-owned TTT, in which he criticised aspects of Finance Minister Colm Imbert’s Mid-year Review, may have been the offending issue. Read more here



Cipriani principal: Modern workers want work, not job security

Industrial relations in Trinidad and Tobago is sometimes fraught and controversial but it doesn’t have to be that way. Fundamentally, employers and workers want the same thing: a successful organisation. How to achieve that is where things can get complicated. On the eve of Labour Day, Business Day spoke with principal of the Cipriani College of Labour and Co-Operative Studies, Dr Andre Vincent Henry, a former diplomat who represented TT at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland and also worked at the International Labour Organization. Read more here

Fuel shipment papers queried
Government has laid documents in the Parliament related to the controversial shipment of 150,000 barrels of fuel which was supposed to go to Aruba but purportedly went to Venezuela. Read more here



‘Declaration blocked’

JUST minutes before he was expected to submit his report to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) in keeping with Section 96 of the Representation of the People Act, the Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield, was served with a Notice of Motion, restraining him from doing just that on the basis that his repot includes votes that are not valid and credible. The report, which contains data generated during the national recount based on ‘votes cast’ at the General and Regional Elections, would have paved way for the declaration of the elections results by the Chair of GECOM, Justice (Ret’d) Claudette Singh, and ultimately the swearing-in of the President. With legal proceedings initiated, the electoral process has been halted. Read more here

Mentally ill man languishing without trial 16 years for smashing windscreen

An elderly man who is mentally ill and who was deemed unfit to plead has been locked away between jails and prison for 16 years for smashing a windscreen. The case of Falmouth native Morris ‘Rassimong’ Small, who is believed to be in his 70s, looms large amid a justice scandal that has triggered public outrage and shame on Jamaica’s political, national security, and justice architecture. His case comes weeks after an Independent Commission of Investigation (INDECOM) report revealed that 81-year-old Noel Chambers, who was also deemed unfit to plead, died in January 2020 after 40 years without trial. Chambers’ emaciated body was covered with bedsores, bedbugs, and vermin bites. Read more here



Chaos in the Koreas sees Kim Jong Un's sister emerge stronger than ever

On a crisp winter day two years ago, Kim Yo Jong took her first step to becoming the powerful politician her father thought she would be. It was February 10, 2018. The youngest child of former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il had already made history by becoming the first member of her family since the end of the Korean War to set foot in the southern half of the Korean Peninsula. The night before, she had attended the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. She sat behind South Korean President Moon Jae-in and watched as hundreds of athletes marched together under a flag representing a unified Korea, a country carved in half in the aftermath of World War II by the Soviet Union and the United States with little regard for the thousands of families that were split apart. Read more here

Coronavirus was already in Italy by December, waste water study finds

Italian scientists say sewage water from two cities contained coronavirus traces in December, long before the country's first confirmed cases. The National Institute of Health (ISS) said water from Milan and Turin showed genetic virus traces on 18 December.

It adds to evidence from other countries that the virus may have been circulating much earlier than thought. Chinese officials confirmed the first cases at the end of December. Italy's first case was in mid-February. In May French scientists said tests on samples showed a patient treated for suspected pneumonia near Paris on 27 December actually had the coronavirus. Read more here


19th June 2020


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