Daily Brief - Thursday 30th August, 2018

NEWS

Espinet: Employees will be treated fairly

All the employees will be treated in a “reasonable, equitable and fair manner,” Petrotrin chairman Wilfred Espinet said yesterday. Espinet did not give specifics, despite uncertainty and unease among workers who are now unsure of their fate after the state oil company made a surprise announcement yesterday that it would close the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery after 101 years of operation. This, he said, is to help the company control its spiralling costs and service its $12 billion debt. Read more here

Unions vow to shut country down

Teachers are being asked to stay away from classrooms on September 7. The call came from Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) president Lynsley Doodhai yesterday in a show of solidarity for the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU), which was dealt a hard blow with Tuesday’s announcement that the Petrotrin refinery will be shut down. The closure of the refinery is expected result in the termination of some 2,600 workers. Read more here

Offshore workers protest for backpay

The Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) yesterday led offshore workers in another protest march who are demanding outstanding payments. Read more here

 

POLITICS

AG: Govt made best decision on Petrotrin

Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi yesterday said Government took the best decision it could regarding the closure of Petrotrin’s Pointe-a-Pierre refinery. At a school supplies distribution function at his San Fernando West constituency office, Al-Rawi told reporters, “I am confident that when the Prime Minister gives the details of the restructuring and the Government’s support for the management of that restructuring, that a lot of fears will be addressed.” Dr Rowley will address the nation on Sunday. Al-Rawi was unfazed by Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU) president general Ancel Roget’s warning that Government will pay a heavy political price for restructuring Petrotrin. Read more here

Nurses, doctors agree with Central Block shutdown

The T&T Registered Nurses Association (TTRNA) and T&T Medical Association are supporting (TTMA) the Health Ministry’s view against retrofitting the Port-of-Spain General Hospital’s Central Block to use it again. Unanimous views against retro-fitting and re-occupancy of the block arose at a meeting yesterday which the Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh held with T&TRNA and T&TMA heads and the North West Regional Health Authority. Patients from the Central Block were relocated to other parts of the hospital following last week’s 6.9 magnitude earthquake. Read more here

Hold refinery referendum, says Fuad: Let the people decide

Hold a public referendum and allow the electorate to vote on the way forward for Petrotrin and its refinery, says Member of Parliament for Barataria/San Juan, Dr. Fuad Khan. In a statement on Wednesday, Khan said that the decision to end the company’s 100 year old refinery operation “that will not only have negative connotations in the present, but will surely impact future generations, without the least bit of public consultation or consideration”. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Earthquake, a wake-up call

Claiming engineers have stated 80 per cent of TT’s building stock is at risk, former chairman of the disbanded National Building Codes Committee Shyankaran Lalla is hoping that the 6.9 earthquake on August 21 which shook the surface on which TT buildings stand, would underscore the urgency of having an effective building code. Lalla said he was really concerned about buildings in Port of Spain that sit on reclaimed land. He said, in the past, TT did not have the technology that existed today to stabilise lands which were reclaimed. He said if and when a "big earthquake" hit there would be massive damage to lives and property. Read more here

Massy opens third supermarket in Arima

Despite facing one of the most difficult economic times the retail sector, Massy Stores remains confident in the future of the country’s economy, says Derek Winford, CEO, Massy Stores. “This is one of the most difficult times in retail, as a matter of fact in the whole country, I have been in retail for over 25 years and I am telling you that the times that we are seeing today is the toughest times that we have seen. Even going back to the financial crisis in the United States, we are in really tough financial times,” he said. Read more here

NGC, DeNovo sign gas sales agreement

State-owned National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago Limited (NGC) and Point Lisas-based DeNovo Energy Ltd (DeNovo) yesterday signed a gas sales agreement for the sale of natural gas from DeNovo’s Block 1(a) asset to NGC, the two companies announced in a joint statement. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Barred From Calabar! - Students With Less Than 60 Per Cent Average Will Be Barred From Entering Fifth Form; Parents Upset

A decision by the Calabar High School in St Andrew to bar students who attain an average of less than 60 per cent from entering fifth form has not gone down well with some parents. The Gleaner obtained a copy of a letter from the school, signed by principal Albert Corcho, that stated that in order to "be promoted to grade 11, each boy MUST receive no less than 60 per cent for his overall average, along with good conduct. The students have been told this repeatedly. It is my intention to promote every fourth-form boy to fifth form. Please assist him to surpass this average. Students with unsatisfactory grades will be given letters inviting their parents ... ." Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Rohingya crisis: Myanmar leader Suu Kyi 'should have resigned'

The outgoing UN human rights chief says Myanmar's de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi should have resigned over the military's violent campaign against the Rohingya Muslim minority last year. Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein told the BBC the Nobel Peace prize winner should have considered returning to house arrest rather than excusing the military. A new UN report says Myanmar's military should be investigated for genocide. Myanmar has rejected the report as one-sided. The army of the Buddhist-majority nation - which has been accused of systematic ethnic cleansing - has previously cleared itself of wrongdoing. Read more here

Employed By China

Zhang Huarong points out of his office window to a bleak block of grey portacabins at the Huajian International Shoe City, in Addis Ababa. “That is what I lived in for six months when I came to Africa,” he says. “I am 60 years old. Back in China, I am a wealthy man -- my house in Dongguan even has a swimming pool. But I chose to come here and do something very difficult.” In 2011, this self-made textile tycoon from Jiangxi province became one of the first Chinese entrepreneurs to heed the call of Ethiopia’s then-Prime Minister Meles Zenawi to open a factory in his country. Within three months, Huajian was producing footwear for giants such as Nine West, Guess and, later, Ivanka Trump’s fashion line, before it closed. Read more here

30th August 2018

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