Daily Brief - Tuesday 14th May, 2019


Udecott boss’ lawsuit against Las Alturas commissioners one step further to trial

Udecott’s chairman Noel Garcia’s lawsuit against the former commissioners who chaired the Las Alturas Commission of Enquiry has moved one step closer to trial. At a pre-trial review before Justice Kevin Ramcharan in the Port of Spain High Court, attorneys for both sides indicated that affidavit evidence were filed by the two remaining commissioners Dr Myron Wing-Sang Chin and Anthony Farrell, although late. Leave was granted the two to extend the time for filing their affidavits which they missed on March 22, but eventually did so on April 30. Garcia’s affidavits are to be filed by July 12. Read more here

Economist welcomes THA’s borrowing approval

The Gov­ern­ment’s move to fi­nal­ly grant ap­proval to the To­ba­go House of As­sem­bly (THA) to bor­row mon­ey on the lo­cal mar­ket to fi­nance To­ba­go’s de­vel­op­ment is “sat­is­fac­to­ry” says econ­o­mist Dr Vanus James. James was re­act­ing to Fi­nance Min­is­ter Colm Im­bert’s 2019 Mid-year Bud­get Re­view, in Par­lia­ment on Mon­day that the THA will soon be giv­en per­mis­sion to bor­row. “I in­tend to grant ap­proval in the very near fu­ture to the To­ba­go House of As­sem­bly to raise loan fi­nanc­ing on the lo­cal mar­ket in the sum of $300 mil­lion for a num­ber of de­vel­op­ment projects, in­clud­ing health and sport­ing fa­cil­i­ties, hous­ing, roads and bridges, coastal pro­tec­tion and the THA’s in­no­v­a­tive “In­tel­li­gent Is­land” ICT project,” Im­bert said. Read more here



Moonilal: Investigate $0.5b NCB Global linked to minister’s brother

Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal has called for a full investigation into NCB Global Finance which has had half a billion in transactions across the state sector and whose CEO in 2014 was the brother of a government minister. He made the call during the debate on the mid-year budget review in Parliament yesterday. Moonilal recalled, on December 17, 2018 he asked the Prime Minister if he was aware NCB Global Finance had loaned $180 million to Udecott and at the bank there were relatives of a Government minister. He said Rowley responded he did not know “who sleep with who and who is cousin of who.” Read more here

Young: Govt still negotiating Train 1

The Gov­ern­ment is still in ne­go­ti­a­tions con­cern­ing the fu­ture of At­lantic LNG Train 1, Min­is­ter of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Stu­art Young said in Par­lia­ment on Monday. The Port-of-Spain North/St Ann’s West MP said the Op­po­si­tion was us­ing the re­cent an­nounce­ment by BPTT con­cern­ing gas sup­ply to the Point Fortin plant, as a tool for fear mon­ger­ing. “Yes, ob­vi­ous­ly this gov­ern­ment is go­ing to look at what hap­pens with Train 1. There is no re­joic­ing, this gov­ern­ment is not hap­py about any set­back what­so­ev­er, in the en­er­gy sec­tor. But this gov­ern­ment will not roll over, we are work­ing hard and con­tin­u­ing our ne­go­ti­a­tions with Shell,” said Young. He said the Gov­ern­ment had tak­en note of what was hap­pen­ing with BPTT con­cern­ing their gas sup­ply, and of­fered some clar­i­fi­ca­tion con­cern­ing the sit­u­a­tion. Read more here



Mixed views on budget review

The American Chamber of Commerce of Trinidad and Tobago (Amcham T&T) says it is concerned about Government’s move to ramp up expenditure without simultaneous increases in revenue. Amcham was responding to the mid-year budget review presented by Finance Minister Colm Imbert yesterday. Read more here



Dirk’s Our Man - Integrity Commission Backs Harrison Despite Public Spat Over Rooms On The Beach Report

A member of the Integrity Commission has publicly rejected aspects of the contentious report on the sale of the Rooms on the Beach property, but insisted that its author, former Contractor General Dirk Harrison, has the full confidence of the nation’s corruption watchdog agency. The sale of the St Ann-based property for just over US$6 million less than the US$13.5-million valuation was investigated by the then Harrison-led Office of the Contractor General (OCG). Harrison’s report, which was critical of Cabinet Minister Daryl Vaz for his alleged interference in the sale, was submitted to Parliament last month. Read more here



Brexit: PM's negotiator to explore changes to future EU relations

Theresa May's Brexit negotiator is on his way to Brussels to explore the scope for changes to the agreement on the UK's future relations with the EU. Olly Robbins is looking to see whether a key demand being made by Labour in cross-party talks can be satisfied. But as cabinet discusses the state of the talks, Theresa May is facing calls from senior Conservative MPs not to agree a compromise with Jeremy Corbyn. Ex-defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon said the process was a "blind alley". The Labour leader is also facing demands from his MPs to abandon the talks, which have been going on for more than a month with little apparent progress. Attempts to find a cross-party compromise began after Theresa May's Brexit deal was rejected three times by MPs. Read more here

It's Trump vs. Xi in the China trade war -- and it's personal

Neither Donald Trump nor Xi Jinping can afford to blink. A personal duel between two rival presidents could ensure that the escalating trade war across the Pacific may last longer than anyone expected. The showdown is now no longer just a confrontation between China and the US -- one a rising power challenging the long established dominance of the global economic leader. It's become a test of wills between two of the world's most powerful men, each of whom has political interests that are more likely to deepen the conflict than to quickly ease it. Both view themselves as strongmen. Both have imposed their power on their domestic governing systems by force of will. Both have the authority to trigger global shock waves -- as they did when markets plunged following Trump's tariff hikes last week and China's multi-billion dollar retaliation on Monday. Read more here

14th May 2019


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