Daily Brief - Thursday 21st July, 2022

NEWS

Bad drainage, ‘developers’ blamed for Freeport flooding

Freeport residents affected by Tuesday’s flooding are blaming improper drainage and inconsiderate "developers" who block watercourses to have "fancy properties." On Wednesday, the residents lamented that flooding has been happening for years. They are also calling on the authorities and residents to do their part to solve the issue. At Calcutta No 2 Road near Kurban Junction, businessman Luiz Garib said it only takes about five minutes of rain for the road and his property to become flooded. He owns Sporting Boys Bar and a straightening and auto paint shop. Read more here

EMBD loses appeal of $82m fee ruling in favour of Junior Sammy contractors

The Estate Management and Business Development Company Ltd (EMBD) has lost its appeal over the decision of a judge to grant a summary judgment to Junior Sammy Contractors Ltd, over approximately $82 million in unpaid fees in relation to residential development in central Trinidad. Delivering a written judgment yesterday, Chief Justice Ivor Archie and Appellate Judges Charmaine Pemberton and Ronnie Boodoosingh dismissed the appeal from the special purpose State company, which manages lands formerly owned by Caroni (1975) Ltd. In the judgment, the appeal panel ruled that former High Court Judge Mira Dean-Armorer was not wrong to award the contractor a default judgment over EMBD’s inability to defend its case before being elevated to the Court of Appeal in 2020. Read more here

 

POLITICS
Israel Khan tells Kamla to return her ‘silk,’ condemns her attack on lawyers

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has come under heavy fire from the most senior attorney at the Inner bar currently in practice, Israel Khan, SC. In a letter in which he minced no words, Khan said Persad-Bissessar’s “baseless attack” on the integrity of the members of the Inner bar (those who have attained senior counsel status) was “obscene.” At a UNC virtual report forum on Monday, the Opposition leader accused some lawyers of “grovelling” to support Attorney General Reginald Armour at last Friday’s vote of a motion of no confidence in him as AG by the Law Association because of the bungling of the State’s civil-forfeiture case involving the Piarco Airport corruption case in Miami. Read more here

Minister ‘partly’ blames HDC’s $1b debt to contractors on errant tenants

The Housing Development Corporation (HDC) currently owes contractors $1.3 billion. This was revealed by Minister of Housing and Urban Development Camille Robinson-Regis yesterday. “We have been tardy in our payments, our contractors are upset,” Robinson-Regis said during the launch of an updated online portal called the Housing Application Fulfilment System (HAFS), which is designed to make it easier for applicants to apply for HDC houses. However, the Minister blamed the overall HDC debt partly on errant tenants, in particular those who live in rent-to-own, license to occupy and rental units. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Business chambers brace for early budget

After presenting two budgets in the midst of a pandemic and a resulting worldwide economic crisis, the government will in a couple months lay its third budget in its second term. The Prime Minister, in a press conference on Monday, announced that Finance Minister Colm Imbert will present a review of the economy, and shortly after, will lay the appropriation bill for the financial year 2022-2023 in Parliament. He said the budget will be laid before Parliament earlier than its usual time, in October. The announcement has resulted in mixed responses among the business community, with some expressing concern and others saying whether the next budget brings good news or bad, it would be better to know early. Read more here

Dr Rowley is right, but country needs more than words

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley is right. It is not often I have been able to say this in this space, but on the issue of energy prices being cyclical and the country not making decisions about recurrent expenditure based on today’s windfall prices, the Prime Minister is correct. Rowley pointed out that of the estimated $8 billion in windfall earnings, $2 billion had already been spent due to higher expenditure approved in the Mid-year Budget Review and out of the additional $6 billion, he was prepared to make half of that available to public servants. But the Prime Minister was also quick to acknowledge that the prices for the commodities were being driven by the war in Europe, a lack of sufficient investments by oil and gas companies during the COVID-19 lockdowns and increased demand as the world emerges from the pandemic. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

New frontier in hospitality Industry

President, Dr. Irfaan Ali, on Wednesday evening, joined investor, Robert Badal, to cut the ceremonial ribbon to declare open the new US$100 million Pegasus Suites and Corporate Centre in Kingston. At the launch of the new facility, President Ali said that the project should serve as an example to other Guyanese businesses. The Pegasus Suites and Corporate Centre, which earlier in the year housed foreign dignitaries before its doors were officially opened, held its grand opening during which it was revealed that the two structures will serve as a new dimension to Guyana’s local hospitality sector. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Ukraine war: CIA chief says no intelligence that Putin is in bad health

There is no intelligence that Vladimir Putin is unstable or in bad health, the director of the CIA has said. There has been increasing unconfirmed media speculation that Mr Putin, who turns 70 this year, may be suffering from ill health, possibly cancer. But William Burns said there was no evidence to suggest this, joking that he appeared "too healthy". The Kremlin has again dismissed the reports of Mr Putin's ill-health as "nothing but fakes". It came as the US announced it would provide Ukraine with more long-range weapons. Earlier Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia's military focus in Ukraine was no longer "only" the east and implied Moscow's strategy had changed after the West supplied Ukraine with such weapons. Read more here

21st July 2022

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