Daily Brief - Thursday 25th May, 2023


TSTT CEO: Retrenchment of 468 saves $12m a month

The retrenchment of 468 TSTT employees is saving the company $12 million a month, said TSTT CEO Lisa Agard. She made this revelation while engaging journalists at a workshop on covering technology and the changing landscape on Tuesday at the TSTT hospitality suite, Queen’s Park Oval. Responding to questions, she said the restructuring was part of many different measures that had to be taken in the face of significant decline in revenue from a changing mobile landscape. “People have this misconception that telecoms companies must have done fantastically well during covid. No. In fact, because people were stuck at home, they were not going out so they weren’t topping up (purchasing pre-paid data). That caused our mobile business to decline,” she said. Read more here

Manhunt on as boy, 2, abducted from mom’s home

Twenty days after a two-year-old boy and his 18-year-old mother were allegedly abducted by a close male relative, the boy has again been abducted by the relative. The child’s mother now fears for the child’s safety and blames the police for not charging the relative after the first incident. Police said investigations are continuing into the boy’s abduction, which occurred on Tuesday morning at his Sangre Grande home. A team of police and Hunters Search and Rescue Team members were said to be combing several forested areas in Sangre Grande up to late last night. According to a police report, at about 2.30 am, Habib Ali, of Quash Trace, Sangre Grande, contacted the Sangre Grande Police Station and reported that whilst at home with his sister Adeba Ali, 18, and her son Umar, two, he was awakened by his sister. Habib told officers that Adeba told him that the 35-year-old suspect had broken into the house, took his nephew without her consent and left in a direction unknown to them. Read more here



Imbert: $7.8B in VAT refunds owed to businesses

Finance Minister Colm Imbert said the total amount of Value Added Tax (VAT) refunds owed to VAT-registered businesses as of the end of March, is approximately $7.8 billion. He made this statement in response to a question from Oropouche West MP Davendranath Tancoo in the House on Wednesday. Imbert said the issue of VAT refunds was not new. In May 2010, he continued, a total of $3 billion in VAT refunds was owed. Imbert said that figure increased to $4.6 billion by September 2015. He added this happened despite record levels of expenditure by the then UNC-led People's Partnership coalition government. Read more here

PM puts country on Local Govt Election footing

Election footing is on, as Local Government elections will be held within 90 days of the Privy Council’s May 18 judgment. Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley yesterday announced that law is expected to be presented in Parliament on Monday to validate regional corporations’ actions from last December onwards - and once passed, the LG elections will be called within 90 days of the May 18 judgment. Rowley revealed the direction in an address to the House of Representatives at the Red House in Port-of-Spain. This, following last Thursday’s Privy Council ruling that Government’s extension of the Local Government term last December to December 3, 2023, was unlawful. Since then, some corporation officials have expressed concern over conducting operations and about councillors’ status. Read more here



Ministers consider regional data centre

Caribbean ministers and senior advisers with responsibility for digital transformation signed the Port-of-Spain Commitment on Digital Integration in Trinidad last week. This agreement marked the culmination of discussions that took place during the executive sessions on Digital Leadership in the Caribbean on May 15 and 16 and signals a commitment to collective action in pursuit of sustainable digital transformation across the region. The executive leadership sessions were hosted by the Ministry of Digital Transformation on behalf of the Government in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU). The meeting reaffirmed the priority to be placed on advancing digital transformation (DT) to support social and economic growth in the Caribbean. The sessions created an enabling space in which the region’s most senior digital transformation policymakers with the support of internationally-renowned thought leaders and speakers, discussed and shared information on their transformation efforts. Read more here

$180,000 plus perks

The incoming chief executive officer (CEO) of State-owned Heritage Petroleum Company Ltd (Heritage) Erik Keskula will receive a lucrative package, including a monthly base salary of $180,000. This information was provided by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley at the Parliament sitting yesterday in response to a question from the Opposition. Keskula’s monthly base salary is $30,000 more than his predecessor, Arlene Chow, made in the position. On May 23, Heritage’s chairman, Michael Quamina, SC, and the board announced that Erik Keskula had been selected as the CEO of the company. Read more here



President Ali says better salaries, more benefits underway for all workers

Numerous persons in Guyana are opting for temporary employment despite multiple long-term job openings here. This is due to the fact that people no longer place much value on work; thus, it is crucial to rekindle their understanding of these ideas. This was according to President Dr. Irfaan Ali while delivering his address at the Twelfth Subregional ILO Meeting of Caribbean Labour Ministers opening at the Guyana Marriot Hotel on Tuesday. “Social justice is not about creating the framework for existing workers alone. It is about how globally we are intaking collective responsibility for the workforce now and in the future,” the President said, adding that climate financing, concessional financing, grants and even food security are facing significant hits. Read more here



Germany Last Generation: Police raids raise questions over right to protest

When does peaceful protest become a crime? How much disruption can a society handle? Do the rights of peaceful demonstrators outweigh the needs of ambulances, fire engines or commuters? Those are the questions being fiercely debated in Germany on Thursday morning, after the homes of Last Generation environmental activists were raided by police early Wednesday. Last Generation's spokeswoman said about 25 police officers carrying guns stormed her bedroom while she was in bed, breaking down the door of her apartment in the Berlin district of Kreuzberg. "We don't know what they were looking for," said one activist, "we only have glue and high-vis jackets." Conservative politicians and many newspaper commentators on Thursday morning applauded the raids. Read more here


25th May 2023


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