Daily Brief - Thursday 2nd May, 2019

NEWS

Former ArcelorMittal steel mill gets new owner

Aeternus Steel Holdings Ltd, a joint venture between local company Integrus Group and Dubai investors Cassia Group, has won the bid for the now-shuttered ArcelorMittal steel mill in Point Lisas. The winner was announced today. The plant was shuttered in March 2016, beginning liquidation proceedings soon after to pay off its reported $1.3 billion debt – most of which was owed to its parent, the ArcelorMittal group, which is headquartered in Luxembourg. Read more here

Venezuelans continue to enter South coast

Boat­loads of Venezue­lans are still con­tin­u­ing to se­cret­ly en­ter Trinidad through Ica­cos even though the Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty Min­is­ter Stu­art Young an­nounced that all bor­ders are now in lock­down. Guardian Me­dia vis­it­ed the coastal vil­lages of Coro­man­del, Fullar­ton, Ica­cos and Bonasse yes­ter­day to see whether there was any phys­i­cal proof of ad­di­tion­al se­cu­ri­ty. No ad­di­tion­al po­lice, sol­diers or coast guard were seen. How­ev­er, res­i­dents said the num­ber of il­le­gal Venezue­lans had in­creased since vi­o­lent street protests erupt­ed in Venezuela fol­low­ing the at­tempt by Op­po­si­tion leader Juan Guai­do to oust Pres­i­dent Nicholas Maduro. Short­ly be­fore the T&T Guardian team ar­rived at Ica­cos Beach at noon, res­i­dents said a boat with five Venezue­lans pulled up and the oc­cu­pants ran out and en­tered a forest­ed area to hide. Read more here

 

POLITICS

AG to whistleblowers: Come and sing your soul

Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi has invited whistleblowers to “come and sing your soul.” He made the comment while piloting the Whistleblower Bill in the House yesterday. He said the bill was a campaign promise of the Government and one of the critical tools to ensure the quality of evidence results in convictions. He explained the bill is to protect people who make disclosures from detrimental action and to define the process. Read more here

Money laundering case built against Ramlogan, Ramdeen

For­mer at­tor­ney gen­er­al Anand Ram­lo­gan and Unit­ed Na­tion­al Con­gress (UNC) sen­a­tor Ger­ald Ramdeen have been ques­tioned by po­lice about their al­leged in­volve­ment in a mon­ey laun­der­ing scheme. The po­lice ques­tion­ing came af­ter the men spent more than eight hours in cus­tody at the An­ti-Cor­rup­tion In­ves­tiga­tive Bu­reau (ACIB) in Port-of-Spain yes­ter­day. While ACIB of­fi­cers and po­lice se­niors re­mained tight-lipped through­out the day, Guardian Me­dia was told that an in­ter­na­tion­al Queen’s Coun­sel is help­ing the State with its case against the two men. Ac­cord­ing to sources in­side the ACIB camp, the for­eign QC worked for Ram­lo­gan dur­ing the time he was at­tor­ney gen­er­al and earned over $20 mil­lion in state briefs. It is al­leged the QC had an agree­ment to pay back a per­cent­age of the mon­ey to Ram­lo­gan in ex­change for the brief. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Raising the stakes

Shaun Rampersad has a single-minded vision for his family company – to make Ramps Logistics Ltd one of the best-known, most-trusted and well-loved brands in the Caribbean. “The whole idea is to build a brand that people want to be associated with, a brand that stands for something, so we are very particular – of course you want to make money – the number one purpose of a business is to make money so in order to do all the good stuff you have to be profitable too. Profit should drive good. Businesses should exist for the betterment of society – and we are particularly concerned about the societies in the Caribbean. Read more here

The Chocolate Box

Have you ever dreamed of a place that offers handcrafted, high quality chocolates produced locally and using Trinitario Cocoa sourced from estates around TT? Even if you haven't, Ashley Parsaram certainly has, and he's made your (secret) wish come true with the official opening of The Chocolate Box at the Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre, St Ann's. But this is not Parasram's only major accomplishment when it comes to cocoa. Chocolates made by his company, TT Fine Cocoa Company, are sold in the world-famous Harrods department store in London. Parasram boasted this was the first time in 184 years that Harrods had co-branded with another company. And British High Commissioner Tim Stew, hailed this feat. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

SOE Heat On - Gun, Ammo Seized, Dozens Detained As Operation Picks Up; Cops Vow To Observe Rights

Dozens of persons have been detained and at least one gun and several rounds of ammunition found as the security forces crank up their operations under a 14-day state of emergency imposed in three western parishes on Tuesday to get a grip on crime. Speaking with The Gleaner late yesterday, Deputy Superintendent Dahlia Garrick, who heads the police’s Corporate Communications Unit, described the first 24 hours of the crime-fighting initiative as being reasonably successful. She said the police recovered one firearm and several rounds of ammunition in Little London, Westmoreland, and investigations are continuing into that seizure. There were unconfirmed reports last night of the seizure of nearly 1,800 rounds of ammunition in MoBay. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Barr ensures Congress can't stop Trump now

Donald Trump was right: He can get away with almost anything -- a factor that is likely to mean an even more unchained presidency over the next 18 months. All the reasons why Democratic efforts to check the President will likely fail were revealed in Attorney General William Barr's trial by fire on Capitol Hill on Wednesday and his refusal to submit to a second round before the fired-up House majority on Thursday. The drama also showed that in the short span of a White House term, given certain partisan conditions, the modern political system will find it almost impossible to constrain a President -- especially one who poses such an overwhelming challenge to congressional custom as Trump. Read more here

Venezuela crisis: Dozens injured in clashes in Caracas

A woman was shot dead and dozens injured in the Venezuelan capital Caracas on Wednesday, in clashes between opposition supporters and pro-government forces. Tear gas and water cannon were fired by the military amid rival demonstrations. Opposition leader Juan Guaidó called for those responsible for the death of a 27-year-old woman to be found. Meanwhile, Mr Guaidó called for a series of strikes to force President Nicolás Maduro to relinquish power. He urged public employees to act on Thursday, saying the stoppages would lead to a general strike. Mr Guaidó in January declared himself Venezuela's interim leader, and he has been recognised by more than 50 countries including the US, UK and most Latin America nations. But Mr Maduro - who is backed by Russia, China and the leaders of Venezuela's military - has refused to cede power. Read more here

2nd May 2019

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