Daily Brief - Monday 18th November, 2019

NEWS

Aranguez group: Help landless farmers

Help landless farmers in TT. Aranguez United Farmers Association president Pundit Satyanand Maharaj made this call at a news conference yesterday. Saying the number of landless farmers outnumber registered farmers, Maharaj said the Agriculture Society of TT's records show there are 1,800 registered farmers in the country. But he added that many farmers were not registered "because they need to find a piece of land to register." Maharaj claimed there are many tenanted farmers in TT who are at the mercy of their landlords. He said there were places in TT where the lands that farmers occupied were owned by someone else. Read more here

Au­dit un­cov­ers lack of ac­count­abil­i­ty by na­tion­al pan body

Close to $ 4 mil­lion was paid out by Pan Trin­ba­go to FCL Fi­nan­cial Ltd and its CEO Daniel Lam­bert over a three-year pe­ri­od with bare­ly any pa­per trail found by au­di­tors to jus­ti­fy these mam­moth pay­ments or any sem­blance of a for­mal agree­ment. An au­dit re­port by Ernst and Young raised fur­ther ques­tions over Pan Trin­ba­go’s han­dling of its fi­nances un­der the for­mer pres­i­dent Kei­th Di­az and oth­er Cen­tral Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee (CEC) mem­bers be­tween the pe­ri­od 2013-2016. Dur­ing an in­ter­view with Ernst and Young in De­cem­ber 2017, Lam­bert said his com­pa­ny had been en­gaged to look at the plat­form in which Pan Trin­ba­go op­er­at­ed and to as­sist the or­gan­i­sa­tion in mov­ing from an in­for­mal to a for­mal struc­ture. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Minister: More labour laws early next year

Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste-Primus expects that by the first quarter of 2020, at least four pieces of legislation will go before the Parliament to promote a sustainable environment for sustainable enterprises, economic growth and decent work for all. Speaking at the Cipriani College of Labour and Co-Operative Studies graduation on Friday, Baptiste-Primus said several pieces of industrial-relations legislation were being reviewed. They included the Retrenchment and Severance Benefit Act, Occupational Safety and Health Act, national workplace sexual harassment policy and the Cipriani College of Labour and Co-Operative Studies Act. Read more here

Young: Info on ISIS refugees must first be verified

Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty Min­is­ter Stu­art Young said on Sunday that in­for­ma­tion in the pub­lic do­main about T&T na­tion­als who left to join ISIS must first be ver­i­fied but ac­knowl­edged that some of the ev­i­dence was dis­turb­ing. He was re­spond­ing to a re­port car­ried by Amand­la Thomas-John­son in the Mid­dle East Eye (MEE). Young said the min­istry was scru­ti­n­is­ing all da­ta to en­sure there was ver­i­fi­ca­tion be­fore tak­ing any ac­tion. The re­port stat­ed that over 100 Trinida­di­ans, in­clud­ing chil­dren, were be­ing held in an over­crowd­ed Al-Hol camp in north­ern Syr­ia. “As Min­is­ter of Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty, I am en­sur­ing that the rel­e­vant au­thor­i­ties are con­duct­ing ver­i­fi­ca­tion and in­for­ma­tion gath­er­ing ex­er­cis­es and I will say that some of the ev­i­dence ob­tained so far with re­spect to some Trinida­di­ans who went to join ISIS is very dis­turb­ing.” Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Earnings increase

This week, we at Bourse review the full financial year performance ended September 2019 of banking giant NCB Financial Group Ltd (NCBFG) and half year (HY) results of Non-Banking Finance stock JMMB Group Ltd (JMMBGL). Read more here

 

REGIONAL

PM: Corruption Warning To JLP

Buffeted by a wave of public criticisms in the wake of at least two major scandals bedevilling his administration this year, Prime Minister Andrew Holness delivered a stern warning to the hierarchy of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) on the weekend. The prime minister admitted that the “real” job of a representative can easily be forgotten. “That is the challenge now, when it becomes about ourselves, that is when we become permissive of corruption. That is when we become accepting of corruption … when we lose sight of the voice, the vision and the vote of the people,” Holness said, as he sought to take on the issue of corruption which the Opposition People’s National Party has been hammering since the Petrojam scandal broke earlier this year and forced Dr Andrew Wheatley to resign as energy minister. Read more here

ICJ gives Venezuela ultimatum

Venezuela has 10 days left to inform the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on its participation in the oral arguments on whether the court has jurisdiction to hear the case filed by Guyana – Arbitral Award of 1899 (Guyana v Venezuela). Guyana’s Foreign Secretary Carl Greenidge made the disclosure while lecturing on the Guyana-Venezuela Controversy at the University of Guyana, Turkeyen Campus recently. In his in-depth presentation to the law students, the foreign secretary said Venezuela has until Thursday, November 28, 2019, to inform the ICJ whether or not it will be putting forward oral arguments on the court’s jurisdiction to adjudicate the matter. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Hong Kong Polytechnic University: Protesters arrested as they run from campus

Several protesters have been arrested while trying to run from a Hong Kong university campus surrounded by police. A group of around 100 people tried to leave Polytechnic University, but were met with tear gas and rubber bullets. It is the third time protesters have tried to leave, following a violent and fiery overnight stand-off with police. In the past week, the university campus has turned into a battleground as the long-running Hong Kong protests become more violent. As protests were raging, Hong Kong's High Court ruled that a ban on protesters wearing face masks was unconstitutional. The colonial-era emergency law was invoked in October, but protesters largely defied the ban. In Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a news conference: "No-one should underestimate China's will to safeguard its sovereignty and Hong Kong's stability." Read more here

Trump attacks another witness as his impeachment defense faces new tests

President Donald Trump's impeachment angst led him to fire off a new attack on a key witness and threatens to deepen in the frenetic week ahead with crucial testimony scheduled from officials caught in the middle of the Ukraine storm. But as is perpetually the case with the President, a brew of competing scandals and controversies will jostle for attention in Washington. That includes fallout from a mysterious and unscheduled trip to a hospital on Saturday, his fight against efforts to reveal his tax records and an apparent new tactic -- firing off searing attacks on witnesses who criticize him in televised hearings. Read more here

18th November 2019

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