Daily Brief - Thursday 25th May, 2017


Officer confesses to leaking, ‘in error’

A policeman from Central Division has confessed to Professional Standards Bureau officers that he leaked a confidential memo outlining Easter weekend anti-crime exercises, in error. The constable expressed remorse claiming when the document was made available to him by seniors, he was supposed to save it and place it in a file. But in error, he sent the document to a chat group via WhatsApp. The memo went viral on social media. The constable said when he realised his error, he was at a loss on what to do. He reiterated that the message was not leaked deliberately. Read more here

Sheron denied bail in protection order breach case

Car dealer Sheron Sukhdeo yesterday pleaded not guilty when he appeared before Chaguanas Magistrate Wendy Dougdeen-Bally charged with breaching a protection order. Sukhdeo, who was represented by attorneys Taradath Singh and Stefan Ramkissoon, was supported in court by his mother. The 28-year-old was denied bail by the magistrate, who requested his passport be brought to court today before she fixes bail. The matter began around  2.06 pm at the Chaguanas Second Magistrate’s Court and lasted close to two hours before it was adjourned to today. The T&T Guardian was put out of the courtroom by a police officer without reason, after he consulted with his colleagues. Read more here

‘Seer man’ Faris must come clean

Declaring she has no evidence Attorney General (AG) Faris Al-
Rawi is a “seer man”, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has called on Chief Justice Ivor Archie to investigate political interference by the AG in the Judiciary. She questioned how the AG knew since last Friday there would be a hearing of the property tax case before the Court of Appeal on Monday, even before a notice of appeal was filed. Read more here



Padarath: A scandal of immense proportions

Sport Minister Darryl Smith’s four-day trip to Tobago, which reportedly cost over $92,000 and involved luxury accommodation at the Magdalena Grand Beach Resort, has been described by Princes Town MP Barry Padarath as, “A scandal of immense proportions”, and one which requires prime ministerial intervention. Padarath, the Opposition UNC’s shadow minister of Sport and Culture said Smith’s actions shows a continued disregard for public office and that Smith, “Really needs to come out and clear the air in terms of whether or not this expenditure was approved by him.” “The minister cannot absolve or refute any of the allegations that have been made because (it is) in black and white,” he said. “Imagine, $92,000 has been spent and the minister is comparing this to a storm in a teacup. Well, minister, $92,000 has been spent and we don’t even have a teacup to show for it!” Read more here

Over 55,000 squatters on State, private lands

Between 2012 to 2015, the former government spent $70 million on the Land for Landless Programme, and although 1,500 lots were fully developed at a cost of just under $47,000 per lot ($70.5m), only six lots have been distributed and signed off by the Commissioner of State Lands. This was revealed to a Joint Select Committee of Parliament by the Chief Executive Officer of the Land Settlements Agency Hazar Hosein yesterday. He told the Committee that the remaining 1,494 lots which have been fully developed with roads, water and electricity are currently on hold. In 2009, it cost the LSA $70,000 to develop a lot of land. That cost has sky-rocketed to between $100,000 and $300,000 today, Hosein said. Read more here

Heads should roll, says Kamla

Heads would have rolled and someone would have definitely been fired if she had to deal with a scandal as the one surrounding Sport Minister Darryl Smith, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar said yesterday. The former prime minister, who fired several ministers during her tenure, was asked yesterday whether the Smith controversy would have prompted a dismissal from her. Read more here



UTC reports ‘robust year’ despite economic downturn

Despite difficult economic circumstances, the Unit Trust Corporation (UTC) is reporting a “robust year” that included increased revenue by almost 30 per cent to more than TT $1 billion and increased distributions to unit holders by more than $70 million. This was reported on Tuesday night at the UTC 35th Annual General Meeting held at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s. UTC Executive Director Ian Chinapoo reported that total revenue was TT $1.1 billion compared to TT $812.4 million a year ago “reflecting an impressive” 29.5 per cent improvement and their customer base grew by 1.2 per cent from 595,706 a year ago to 602,728. “Let us also take cognizance of the fact that these results were achieved amid what can only be described as very difficult domestic and regional economic conditions. Fortunately for us, we benefitted from stronger than expected results in financial markets of the United States and other international markets,” he said. Read more here

CL Financial in legal letter to Imbert: Remove your directors now

Remove government directors from CL Financial’s board within one week. “We’ll do whatever is necessary in a legal framework to get back the companies. And yes, this is a first step,” said Carlton Reis (spokesman for Dalco and for CL Financial significant shareholder Lawrence Duprey). Reis added yesterday: “We have enough evidence to show Government is mismanaging CLF’s assets. Government has been irresponsible, doing as they please and not consulting shareholders.” Read more here



Hill Free - Former Cash Plus Boss Walks As Fraud Case Collapses

Locksley Comrie, a former Jamaican football administrator, was furious yesterday as he watched Carlos Hill, founder of the Cash Plus scheme in which he had invested US$10 million, walk out of the Home Circuit Court a free man. "I invested ten million [expletive] dollars and don't get back a penny," Comrie, who is confined to a wheelchair, shouted outside the court after prosecutors announced that they were offering no evidence against Hill. But prosecutors later revealed that even with his mammoth investment - J$729 million at the 2008 exchange rate - there is no record that Comrie gave a statement to police investigators probing the collapse of the unregulated scheme. Read more here



Manchester attack: Police 'not sharing information with US'

Police investigating the Manchester Arena bomb attack have stopped sharing information with the US after leaks to the media, the BBC understands. UK officials were outraged when photos appearing to show debris from the attack appeared in the New York Times. It came after the name of bomber Salman Abedi was leaked to US media just hours after the attack, which left 22 dead. Theresa May said she would tell Donald Trump at a Nato meeting that shared intelligence "must remain secure". The Queen is at the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital visiting some of the injured as well as members of the emergency services. In total eight men are now in custody following Monday's attack at an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena, in which 116 people were also injured. It was carried out by Manchester-born Abedi, a 22-year-old from a family of Libyan origin. The arrests have been "significant" while searches of premises had also yielded items "important to the investigation", Greater Manchester Police said. Read more here

Tennis great Margaret Court to boycott Qantas over same-sex marriage

One of tennis' greatest ever stars says she will no longer fly Qantas because of the airline chief executive's support for same-sex marriage. "As you will know, I have represented Australia many times and have the proud record of never losing a tennis match while playing for my country. I am disappointed that Qantas has become an active promoter for same-sex marriage. I believe in marriage as a union between a man and a woman as stated in the Bible," Court, 74, said in an open letter published in The Western Australian CNN attempted to reach Court's church to confirm the letter's validity. "Your statement leaves me no option but to use other airlines where possible for my extensive (sic) travelling," she wrote. Read more here

25th May 2017


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