Daily Brief - Friday 31st May, 2019


Amnesty International to PM: Lives of refugees at risk

Amnesty In­ter­na­tion­al has writ­ten an open let­ter to Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley stat­ing that while it wel­comes the Gov­ern­ment’s plan to reg­is­ter Venezue­lans in this coun­try, it wants as­sur­ances that the con­fi­den­tial in­for­ma­tion re­ceived will not fall in­to the hands of the Venezue­lan Gov­ern­ment. The let­ter dat­ed May 28 was writ­ten by Amnesty In­ter­na­tion­al’s Amer­i­c­as Di­rec­tor Eri­ka Gue­vara Rosas. Gov­ern­ment sched­uled to start its two-week process of reg­is­ter­ing Venezue­lan mi­grants in this coun­try to­day. Ear­li­er this month Amnesty In­ter­na­tion­al is­sued a re­port on Venezuela ti­tled, Hunger for jus­tice: Crimes against hu­man­i­ty in Venezuela which de­tailed “how se­lec­tive ex­tra­ju­di­cial ex­e­cu­tions, ar­bi­trary de­ten­tions, and deaths and in­juries caused by the ex­ces­sive use of force by the Venezue­lan au­thor­i­ties or by per­sons or groups of per­sons act­ing with the au­tho­riza­tion, sup­port or ac­qui­es­cence of the Venezue­lan au­thor­i­ties, may con­sti­tute crimes against hu­man­i­ty and re­quire an ur­gent re­sponse from the in­ter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty.” Read More

T&T becoming a despotic state

Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS) Secretary General, Satnarayan Maharaj speaking during the annual Indian Arrival Day Celebration hosted by the SDMS of Trinidad and Tobago, South Regional Council at Parvati Girl’s Hindu College, Debe, yesterday. Rishi Ragoonath Cit­ing sev­er­al high pro­file ar­rests of East In­di­ans cit­i­zens, Hin­du leader Sat­narayan Ma­haraj yes­ter­day claimed that a cer­tain group of peo­ple are be­ing tar­get­ed by the au­thor­i­ties. In his ad­dress at the Sanatan Dhar­ma Ma­ha Sab­ha’s (SDMS) 19th an­nu­al In­di­an Ar­rival Day cel­e­bra­tions at Par­vati Girls’ Hin­du Col­lege in Debe yes­ter­day, Ma­haraj said he has been warned that he too will join that list. “I wish to draw your at­ten­tion to a num­ber of high pro­file ar­rests of peo­ple in Trinidad and To­ba­go and I want you to watch the pat­tern of the high pro­file ar­rests,” he said. The SDMS Sec­re­tary Gen­er­al named for­mer prime min­is­ter Bas­deo Pan­day, for­mer at­tor­ney gen­er­al and se­nior coun­sel Ramesh Lawrence Ma­haraj, for­mer speak­er of the house Oc­c­ah Seep­aul, for­mer chief jus­tice Sat­nar­ine Shar­ma, for­mer at­tor­ney gen­er­al and se­nior coun­sel Anand Ram­lo­gan, for­mer sen­a­tor at­tor­ney Ger­ald Ramdeen among those who had been ar­rest­ed. Read More.

Govt says talks with BP productive

BP Chief Executive Upstream Bernard Looney speaking with Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley in London. The Gov­ern­ment and bpTT will be­gin talks in mid-June on is­sues re­lat­ed to the re­struc­tur­ing of At­lantic LNG as well as an ac­cel­er­a­tion of field op­er­a­tions and ex­plo­ration. That was among the out­comes of what Gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials de­scribed as “very frank and de­tailed” talks be­tween Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley and top BP of­fi­cials in Lon­don yes­ter­day. Agree­ment for talks on At­lantic LNG and oth­er is­sues fol­lowed BP’s re­cent an­nounce­ment—on the eve of the Gov­ern­ment’s re­cent mid-year re­view—that it might not be able to sup­ply nat­ur­al gas for At­lantic LNG’s Train 1. Read More



JET Concerned About Bauxite Mining Near Cockpit Country Boundary

The Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) says it is growing “increasingly alarmed” at the activities of bauxite mining companies near the designated Cockpit Country Protected Area boundary. According to Suzanne Stanley, Chief Executive Officer of JET, bauxite mining is expanding in Cockpit Country communities in St Ann and Trelawny which have been left out of the protected area. “The absence of information from the government and these bauxite companies operating near the CCPA boundary has made what is already a bad situation, worse,” Stanley said in a statement today. She said that residents of Gibraltar, Madras, Barnstaple in St Ann reported that they have observed the rapid expansion of the activities of the mining company Noranda Bauxite (New Day Aluminum) in their area over the last year. She argued that bauxite mining is not only degrading their land and displacing residents, but that dust from the mining operations is also increasingly threatening their health and polluting their water supply. Read More

New Standarised Rates For Building Fees

The Government has announced new standardised rates for building fees charged by local authorities.Local Government and Community Development Minister, Desmond McKenzie, had indicated that the new regime incorporates three rates for all categories of works which have been approved by local building authorities. McKenzie, who was speaking during his 2019/20 Sectoral Debate presentation in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, said the new regime comprises a standard rate of $90,000 per square metre, applicable to all construction categories, which will be reviewed every two years; a residential rate of .25 per cent of the estimated construction cost; and a commercial, institutional, industrial and resort rate of .5 per cent of the estimated construction cost. “These residential and commercial rates are a 50 per cent reduction of the current rates in the building bylaws. We want to ensure regulatory efficiency and ensure that the fees are manageable for homeowners and business people at every economic level as they pursue their development objectives,” the local government minister said. Read More



Business lobby group CBI warns Tories over no-deal Brexit

The Confederation of British Industry has warned Conservative leadership candidates over a no-deal Brexit. Such a scenario would do "severe" damage to businesses; the body - which supported Remain - told all the MPs running to lead the party. Director general Carolyn Fairbairn told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that a no-deal Brexit should be an option "that is not even considered". She was speaking after the CBI sent an open letter to candidates. In its letter the CBI says: "Firms large and small are clear that leaving the EU with a deal is the best way forward." "Short-term disruption and long-term damage to British competitiveness will be severe if we leave without one. The vast majority of firms can never be prepared for no-deal, particularly our [small and medium-sized] members who cannot afford complex and costly contingency plans." Read more

Trump to hit Mexico with tariffs in anti-immigration measure

US President Donald Trump has announced tariffs on all goods coming from Mexico, demanding the country curb illegal immigration into the US. In a tweet, Mr Trump said that from 10 June a 5% tariff would be imposed and would slowly rise "until the illegal immigration problem is remedied". Jesús Seade, Mexico's top diplomat for North America, said the proposed tariffs would be "disastrous". Mr Trump declared a national emergency at the US-Mexico border in February. He said it was necessary in order to tackle what he claimed was a crisis at the US southern border. Border agents say they are overwhelmed, but critics say they are mishandling and mistreating migrants. Read More

31st May 2019


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