Daily Brief - Thursday 7th February, 2019

NEWS

Fishermen still in captors’ hands

Ten days after six Trinidadian men were kidnapped and held for ransom in Venezuela, their fate remains uncertain. Yesterday, the fathers of two of the abducted men said they had no word as to sons’ whereabouts but they believed that a miracle would happen and their sons would be brought home safely. They men, identified as brothers Jason O’Brian, 38, Jerry O’Brian, 36, Ricky Rhambarose, 35, Brandon Arjoon, 38, Linton Manohar, 35 and Jagdish Jude Jaikaran, 17, were abducted on January 28, while fishing in a pirogue off Morne Diablo. Read more here

CoP Griffith, Burkie in peace talks

“I think the Mus­lim who is re­al Mus­lim in this coun­try not at war, and who is re­al Rasta­far­i­an is not at war. This is a bunch of clowns with guns.” That was the re­sponse of com­mu­ni­ty leader Cedric “Burkie” Burke to the sup­posed on­go­ing gang war be­tween the Mus­lim and Ras­ta City gangs yes­ter­day, in the wake of the dri­ve-by shoot­ing that took place along Pi­o­neer Dri­ve, Sea Lots, on Sun­day night that left two dead and six oth­ers in­jured. The at­tack was be­lieved to have been a hit on Burke. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Rowley in Montevideo meetings over Venezuela

The Prime Minister was part of a Caricom delegation in Uruguay that yesterday joined Mexico and Uruguay to launch an initiative called the Montevideo Mechanism to bring a peaceful resolution to Venezuela crisis. Caricom will today meet a European Union (EU) delegation. A statement from the Office of the Prime Minister said the mechanism was a response to a call by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to find a pathway to a peaceful resolution through dialogue and respect for international law and human rights. Read more here

UNC queries CJ link to PM during election petition case

A Unit­ed Na­tion­al Con­gress (UNC) mem­ber has res­ur­rect­ed the three-year-old elec­tion pe­ti­tion and is now seek­ing to sue Chief Jus­tice Ivor Archie for his role in the de­ter­mi­na­tion which cost him the seat back in 2015. In a pre-ac­tion pro­to­col let­ter yes­ter­day, UNC sen­a­tor and at­tor­ney Ger­ald Ramdeen rep­re­sent­ed Dr She­vanand Gopeesingh, who was the UNC can­di­date for San Fer­nan­do West and went up against At­tor­ney Gen­er­al Faris Al-Rawi. The crux of the new law­suit against Archie was whether he and the then new­ly-in­stalled Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley had a re­la­tion­ship close enough that Archie ap­proached Row­ley for hous­es dur­ing the time the pe­ti­tion was be­ing heard. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Tourism more than sun, sea, sand

PRESIDENT of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) Patricia Affonso-Dass believes the time has come to change the way the region is marketed to potential visitors. She said many people are moving away from the idea of visiting the Caribbean for sun, sea and sand, and are seeking a richer experience in terms of their interaction with the people and immersing themselves in the culture. She was speaking last week at the CHTA's Caribbean Travel Marketplace in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Read more here

Alarm over rent hike for Cocoa Company

The revelation that the Cocoa Development Company (CDC), a non-profit State company with less than 13 employees, moved from a monthly rental payment for office space of $17,000 to $72,000 caused alarm and concern from members of the Public Accounts Enterprises Committee (PAEC). Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Hush-Hush Backlash - Fired Petrojam GM Blasts Ramharrack Gag; Open To Talks On Contract Row With Gov’t

A former general manager of the scandal-scarred Petrojam has asserted that non-disclosure agreements (NDA) have no place in the employment arrangement for public-sector employees. Further, Howard Mollison has signalled that he would be willing to hold talks with the management of the state-owned oil refinery to settle his long-running contractual dispute but is adamant that he will not make the first move. “Absolutely not!” Mollison told The Gleaner yesterday. His stance came a day after Prime Minister Andrew Holness revealed that Petrojam and its former human resource manager, Yolande Ramharrack, agreed on a $9.2-million separation agreement that included a non-disclosure clause. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

As ISIS shrinks, Syrians return home and discover a wasteland

Two boys in their early teens swing sledgehammers, knocking down what remains of a wall. Another is hauling pieces of wood across the rubble-strewn dirt in front of the house, or what was the house of Qais Diab Al-Sharina. One week ago, Al-Sharina and his children returned to their former home in the town of Hajin, on the Euphrates River in eastern Syria. A coalition of US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Kurdish soldiers and Arab tribesmen liberated Hajin from the so-called Islamic State in December. Read more here

Brexit: UK will not be 'trapped' in backstop, May to tell EU

Theresa May is in Brussels to press EU leaders for legally binding changes to the Brexit deal. The PM will insist the UK will not be "trapped" in the backstop - the plan to avoid the return of Irish border checks whatever UK-EU trade deal is agreed. She will say the plan must change if it is to win the support of MPs who urged her to seek "alternative arrangements" when rejecting the deal last month. However, the EU has repeatedly ruled out changing the withdrawal agreement. Anti-Brexit protester Mark Johnson jumped in front of Mrs May's car as she arrived. He was bundled out of the way by security staff and was unhurt. Read more here

7th February 2019

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