Daily Brief - Thursday 18th May, 2023


Heritage warns public – Strong action against pipeline right of way violators

Even as it continues clean-up operations following the rupture of its 16-inch diameter oil pipeline in Massahood Village, Avocat on Sunday, state-owned Heritage Petroleum Company Ltd is warning the public that strong action will be taken against anyone violating the right of way of its above and below-ground network of pipelines. Finance Minister and Acting Prime Minister Colm Imbert told the Senate on Wednesday that a home-owner had built a garage above the pipeline which eventually ruptured on Sunday. As a result, 20 people from four households had to be kept at Paria Suites Hotel in La Romaine – at state expense – while clean-up operations began and are continuing. The 20 are still at the hotel. Read more here

Gangs have TTPost workers running scared

The T&T Postal Corporation (TTPost) yesterday ordered employees to desist from wearing clothing with any form of numbering which could be associated with or linked to criminal gangs across the country, fearing this could lead to them becoming targets as they move around. In an internal memorandum dated May 16 and signed by acting Security Manager Donna Bournes, delivery leaders and officers were told the directive was based on advice from the T&T Police Service (TTPS). The memo read, “With immediate effect, Delivery Officers are not to wear and or carry any item, clothing, shoes, caps, handbags, umbrellas or any other paraphernalia while out on delivery bearing the numbers 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 as these numbers represent different gangs across communities namely: Tyson, Rasta City, EBG, Six (6), Boombay Gang and Police. Read more here



Ministry's electronic monitoring unit gets more equipment

Deputy manager of the National Security Ministry's electronic unit, Lawrence Hinds, said additional equipment for the unit arrived in TT on Wednesday. Hinds was contributing to a joint select committee meeting on national security on Wednesday. Committee member Jayanti Lutchmedial asked for an update on how much equipment the unit has since it is now law that people can get bail for any offence. Hinds said the department has been "forward thinking" to get more equipment to augment its existing pool. Read more here

Hinds to get Brent Thomas report in 2 weeks—CoP

Police Commissioner Erla Harewood-Christopher says a written report on the fiasco involving firearms dealer Brent Thomas will be submitted to National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds in two weeks. Minister Hinds had previously confirmed that he had received a thorough oral report from Harewood-Christopher on the issue. Responding to questions during a Joint Select Committee yesterday, however, Harewood-Christopher confirmed that Deputy Commissioner of Police Curt Simon was leading the investigation into the controversial arrest and hand-over of Thomas from Barbados authorities to local police officials last October. Thomas’ return to Trinidad was described by a High Court judge as an “abduction” and a breach of process. It has prompted investigation to be launched both here and in Barbados, where that country’s Attorney General, Dale Marshall, eventually defended the input of the Barbados Police Service in the matter. Read more here



TTCSI, Turkiye want SMEs to boost economies

The Trinidad and Tobago Coalition of Services Industries (TTCSI) wants small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to do business with Turkiye in the areas of tourism, hotel, health, film and animation, logistics and transport and energy. TTCSI president Mark Edghill said the aim is to help SMEs from both countries connect, work together and eventually realise or even increase trade figures. He said though TT and Turkiye have had a friendly relationship for over 50 years, more can be done to boost the economies. With this in mind, Turkiye Ambassador Bengu Yigitguden reminded people that TT residents can visit Turkiye with no visa and stay for 90 days. They were speaking at a webinar – Doing Business with Turkiye – hosted by TTCSI on Wednesday. Read more here

Gopee-Scoon: Hundreds of jobs have been created

Trade Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon says the country is booming with investments and hundreds of jobs have been created. The minister rubbished all criticisms from the Opposition with respect to a struggling economy, lack of investments and joblessness during the debate of the Finance (Supplementation and Variation of Appropriation) (Financial Year 2023) Bill, 2023 at the Senate sitting on Tuesday. She said hundreds of jobs are to come with the Phoenix Park Industrial Estate. Gopee-Scoon said in 2021 there were new investments of at least half a billion dollars. By 2022, investments were at about $1 billion providing jobs for the people. Read more here



Empowering customers: Guyanese telecom users can switch providers, retain numbers

Starting from July 2023, customers will have the freedom to switch their telecommunication service providers while retaining their current phone numbers. This is according to Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), Dela Britton, who, during a webinar held in observance of World Telecommunications and Information Society Day on Wednesday, said the commission would be rolling out a ‘game changer’ number portability system. The webinar, held under the theme “Telecoms Sector in Guyana: Navigating this new Frontier’ saw several major players from Guyana’s telecommunications sector in attendance. “Number portability is a game changer in the competition space, as it allows consumers to retain their existing telephone or cellular numbers when switching services. It generally forces players, when faced with competition, to improve their service offerings,” Britton said. Read more here



Ukraine: The Mariupol steel workers longing for home

One year after the Ukrainian city of Mariupol fell to Russian control, its displaced steel workers find themselves both comforted and unsettled by ghosts of their former lives. Ivan Holtvenko clutches his ID card from his old job in the southern port city as he chats to me in his new workplace, a steelworks in central Ukraine. "I hid the pass [when I fled], and now I'm saving it, hoping that one day I'll need it again," he says. Ivan is among dozens of workers from Mariupol's Azovstal steelworks who have begun a new life in Kamianske, 270km [168 miles] away, after surviving the final battle for Mariupol, one of the most defining moments of the war. For weeks, Ukrainian fighters holed up in the tunnels and bunkers of the steelworks, making a last stand against the Russian forces. They were eventually forced to leave, but Azovstal became a symbol of resistance against the invasion. Read more here

18th May 2023


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