Daily Brief - Thursday 31st January, 2019

NEWS

Police strengthening border

Police ground and air assets in south-west Trinidad are being reinforced to strengthen border security as the Venezuela crisis unfolds. Commissioner of Police (CoP) Gary Griffith made that disclosure yesterday to members of the National Security Joint Select Committee (JSC) at a public hearing at Tower D of the Port of Spain International Waterfront Centre. “We are aware there is a clear and present danger in dealing with what is happening on the mainland,” Griffith said. Read more here

Abducted fisherman returns home

As they fran­ti­cal­ly sold a pirogue, a van and two boat en­gines to raise a US$200,000 ran­som in ex­change for the safe re­turn of five kid­napped fish­er­men, rel­a­tives got word that one of the men Jer­ry O’Bri­an had re­turned home. Jer­ry and his broth­er Ja­son O’Bri­an, along with Ricky Ramb­harose, 35, of Fyz­abad, Jagdesh Jude Jaikaran, 16, Bran­don Ar­joon, 28, and Lin­ton Manohar, 36, - all of Morne Di­a­blo - were re­port­ed­ly kid­napped by Span­ish speak­ing men dur­ing a fish­ing ex­pe­di­tion. In an in­ter­view, Bran­don’s fa­ther Rod­ney said they were pray­ing fer­vent­ly that all of the fish­er­men will be re­turned home safe­ly. Rod­ney said he was yet to see Jer­ry. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Jennings-Smith: Youths are leaders of today

Some people believe that youths are the leaders of tomorrow but for Parliamentary Secretary in the National Security Ministry Glenda Jennings-Smith, this is not the case. “They are the leaders of today. What they can do today, can influence what goes on in the country today. That is what we are focusing on — making a difference today, letting the youths level up, letting them get involved in their communities, letting them take responsibility,” Jennings-Smith said. She made the comments yesterday to the media at the National Crime Prevention Programme Youth Outreach Engagement held at the Naparima Boys’ College, San Fernando. Read more here

PM: Maduro hasn’t approached T&T on mediation meeting

Em­bat­tled Venezue­lan Pres­i­dent Nicholas Maduro has not ap­proached Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley or the T&T Gov­ern­ment about a po­ten­tial me­di­a­tion meet­ing be­tween him and Venezue­lan op­po­si­tion leader Juan Guai­do in this coun­try. How­ev­er, the Prime Min­is­ter said that if this sug­gest­ed then this coun­try would be open to such a meet­ing as he ex­plained that Cari­com had of­fered to be a neu­tral ground for talks for Venezue­lan of­fi­cials. “If to­day he is say­ing that Trinidad and To­ba­go or any Cari­com coun­try is that place it goes back to our of­fer,” said Row­ley at the Pi­ar­co In­ter­na­tion­al Air­port. “I heard the Uruguayans al­so have made them­selves avail­able in a sim­i­lar man­ner,” he added. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

BHP predicts returns in deepwater blocks

HP Billiton has been operating in TT for 22 years, and, its president Vincent Pereira hopes, will be here for at least 22 more. “Trinidad is a great place to do business. We’ve been quite successful here so that’s always good. And I think the environment itself is good because clearly it has a century-long established industry,” Pereira said. Pereira spoke to Business Day at his Invaders Bay office, Mucurapo, overlooking the Gulf of Paria. He’s a soft-spoken man and one of the most prominent voices in energy in TT, having served a two-year stint as president of the TT Energy Chamber. Read more here

Demand more of the HSF

In the third cal­en­dar quar­ter of 2018, the Her­itage and Sta­bil­i­sa­tion Fund (HSF) post­ed a re­turn of 1.81 per cent com­pared with a gain of 1.54 per cent for its Strate­gic As­set Al­lo­ca­tion bench­mark. Ac­cord­ing to the HSF re­port, while all four man­dates (in­vest­ment strate­gies) gen­er­at­ed pos­i­tive ab­solute re­turns, the main dri­ver of per­for­mance was the fund’s ex­po­sure to the Unit­ed States (US) eq­ui­ty mar­kets. On a rel­a­tive per­for­mance ba­sis, the two fixed in­come port­fo­lios out­per­formed their re­spec­tive bench­marks. How­ev­er, the two eq­ui­ty man­dates un­der­per­formed their re­spec­tive bench­marks over the pe­ri­od. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Jamaica Loses Ground In Fight Against Corruption

A plethora of negative national developments in 2018 have factored high on Jamaica’s two-point slip in the rankings of Transparency International’s 2018 Corruption Perception Index (CPI). The country is now ranked 70 out of 180 countries and has a CPI score of 44. Jamaica also scored a CPI of 44 in 2017 and 39 in 2016. The index, which ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public-sector corruption according to experts and business people, uses a scale of zero to 100, where zero is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean. A CPI score of below 50 means that a country has a corruption problem. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Even some Republicans balk as Trump targets US spy chiefs

Even after two years, President Donald Trump's assaults on US spy chiefs are shocking coming from a commander in chief. The President's Twitter barrage over a global threat matrix produced by US intelligence agencies that contradicts with his idiosyncratic worldview is hardly a surprise given his past behavior. His habit of fashioning a truth that fits his personal prejudices and goals over an objective version of reality has been an undercurrent to his political career. But when that often-successful political method is carried into the realm of national security, it can be deeply destructive. Read more here

Polar vortex brings deadly cold snap to US states

Cities are all but shutting down across the US Midwest as the region shivers in a deadly cold snap known as a polar vortex. At least eight people have been killed in several states as a result of the Arctic weather. Temperatures fell to -30C (-22F) in Chicago - colder than parts of Antarctica - and -37C in North Dakota. Freezing weather will chill 250 million Americans, and 90 million will experience -17C (0F) or below. Read more here

31st January 2019

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