Daily Brief- Monday 20th May, 2019

NEWS

Toco Bay not a critical turtle habitat

The National Infrastructure Development Company (Nidco) has responded to concerns about the Toco port project and said the Toco Bay site is not a critical habitat for turtles. Nidco, in a release, said it notes the public comments on its proposed construction of the multi-purpose port at Toco in north Trinidad, including those carried in the media. “Nidco emphasises that given its mandate and its managerial focus to operate as a responsible State agency, it will not embark on any major, core infrastructural project, without the necessary due diligence, and ongoing studies on all aspects such a project (that is) identification of the appropriate location, technical designs, environmental impact, and socio-economic viability.” Read more here

Gary wants proof of $18m TTPS debt to VMCOTT

The T&T Po­lice Ser­vice (TTPS) owes cash-strapped Ve­hi­cle Man­age­ment Cor­po­ra­tion of T&T (VM­COTT) $18 mil­lion for main­te­nance and re­pairs of hun­dreds of po­lice ve­hi­cles over the last 15 years. How­ev­er, Po­lice Com­mis­sion­er Gary Grif­fith said not one red cent will be paid un­til VM­COTT pro­vides him with in­voic­es for the work done. VM­COTT CEO Natasha Prince and chair­man Neil Ben­net, in con­firm­ing the amount of the debt last Thurs­day, said the agency is owed a to­tal of $42 mil­lion by the TTPS, Min­istry of Health, Pub­lic Trans­port Ser­vice Cor­po­ra­tion (PTSC) and oth­er state agen­cies. VM­COTT al­so owes con­trac­tors, ven­dors and sup­pli­ers $10 mil­lion. Read more here

 

POLITICS

West: TT spared harsh austerity measures

Minister in the Ministry of Finance Allyson West says this country was spared from harsh austerity measures. She was speaking in the Senate last week during the debate on the Finance (Supplementary Appropriation) (Financial Year 2019) Bill, 2019. West said between 2010 and 2015, the government of TT benefited from supernormal revenues buoyed by high energy commodity prices but what they did with it was the more important revelation. Read more here

Imbert: No problems with board of HSF

Gov­ern­ment has dis­missed re­ports that the Her­itage and Sta­bil­i­sa­tion Fund (HSF) is with­out a func­tion­ing board of di­rec­tors. “The re­al­i­ty is, con­trary to the wild spec­u­la­tion in the ar­ti­cle, the va­can­cies cre­at­ed by re­tir­ing mem­bers of the board of the Her­itage and Sta­bil­i­sa­tion Fund, have been filled and the req­ui­site in­stru­ments of ap­point­ment and/or re-ap­point­ment to the board were made in May 2019. “Fur­ther, Sec­tion 5 of the Her­itage and Sta­bil­i­sa­tion Fund Act states that the board shall meet at such times and places as may be nec­es­sary or ex­pe­di­ent for the ef­fi­cient per­for­mance of its func­tions save that the board shall meet at least once in every two suc­ces­sive months,” Fi­nance Min­is­ter Colm Im­bert said in a state­ment. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Mid-year review: Better days ahead?

This week, we consider some of the key takeaways from the 2019 Mid-Year Budget Review, presented by the Minister of Finance last Monday. We also look at select production trends in the energy sector and highlight some of the investment opportunities on the horizon. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

$750m Bank Fraud - Rackets Surge As Most Scammers Go Unpunished

The Jamaican law-enforcement and justice systems appear incapable of clamping down on wide-scale fraud that caused domestic banks and other financial institutions to haemorrhage $750 million last year, a Sunday Gleaner investigation has unveiled. Though nearly 3,400 alleged cases have been reported to the police Fraud Squad from 2013 to 2018, data from the Jamaica Constabulary Force indicate that the conviction rate lags arrests, with only 115 persons found guilty out of 1,029 held for various rackets. And even with a conviction rate of 10 per cent, more than half of the 115 convictions – 62 – over the five years took place last year. In 2015 and 2016, the Fraud Squad secured three convictions all told, according to police data. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Google may just have killed Huawei's bid to become the world's top smartphone brand

Google is restricting Huawei's access to its Android operating system and apps after the Trump administration blacklisted the Chinese tech firm. The move is a huge blow to Huawei, whose goal is to be the top smartphone brand by the end of 2020. Last week, the Trump administration barred American companies from selling to Huawei without a US government license in a significant escalation of the trade war with China. "We are complying with the order and reviewing the implications," a Google spokesperson said on Monday. Huawei, the world's No. 2 smartphone seller, relies on a suite of Google (GOOGL)services for its devices, including the Android system and the Google Play app store. Read more here

Volodymyr Zelensky: Comedian-president calls snap election

Comedian Volodymyr Zelensky announced a snap parliamentary election during his swearing-in as Ukraine's new president. The election was expected to take place in October 2019. But at the ceremony in Kiev Mr Zelensky said "I am dissolving the Verkhovna Rada (parliament)". He said ending the conflict with Russian-backed rebels in the east would be his top priority. A political novice, he campaigned strongly against official corruption. "People must come to power who will serve the public," he said on Monday. Russian President Vladimir Putin said he would not congratulate Mr Zelensky on his inauguration, but would wait for "the first successes in settling the internal conflict in south-eastern Ukraine, and in normalising Russian-Ukrainian relations". Read more here

20th May 2019

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