Daily Brief - Tuesday 23rd May, 2023


T&T gets needed rain but wet season not here yet

With heavy showers and thunderstorms moving across both islands from the early hours of yesterday, localised flooding was reported along the Eastern Main Road in Tunapuna, St Augustine and St Joseph, as well as along Farm Road, St Joseph, parts of Arima, and along the Couva Main Road, Couva. Most areas saw between five and 15 millimetres of rainfall, with isolated totals exceeding 25 millimetres across parts of northern T&T. The Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission (T&TEC) also responded to a fallen tree that brought down power lines along Saddle Road, near the North Coast Road intersection. The Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service (TTMS) had placed the country under an Adverse Weather Alert (Yellow Level) from 10 pm on Sunday through 5 pm yesterday, which was discontinued yesterday afternoon. In the Met Office’s discontinuation of the alert, they stated, “The potential for impactful weather has decreased considerably.” Read more here

Caridoc workers furloughed for 90 days

Furloughed workers at the Caribbean Dockyard and Engineering Services Ltd (Caridoc) are asking for a speedy resolution to their situation after 137 workers were given a 90-day furlough last Tuesday, leaving a skeleton crew of 24 workers and 21 managers at the facility. A letter sent to the furloughed staff dated May 16, signed by Chief Operations Officer Wayne Beharry, said the reason for the furlough was because the company was in a bad financial position. “Due to our adverse financial position, owing to the submergence of the Drydock in August 2022, it has become necessary for the Caribbean Dockyard and Engineering Facility (CDESL) to temporarily reduce our workforce. Read more here



Hinds urges media: Sensitise the public to dangers of guns, drugs

As part of Government's whole of society approach to tackling crime and violence, National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds is urging the media to make a greater effort in sensitising the public to the dangers of guns and drugs. He made the call while speaking with reporters after the opening session on Monday of the 37th annual general meeting of the Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police (ACCP) at the Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain.  He said while media have consistently reported on violent crime and its effects, he would like to see a concerted media effort to not only highlight the risks of crime but also what can be done by citizens to safeguard their communities. Read more here

Kuei Tung, Ferguson appeal US$131.5M Piarco case

Former government minister Brian Kuei Tung, businessman Steve Ferguson and United States businessman Raul Guiterrez Jr have signalled their intention to appeal the Government’s US$131.5 million (approx. TT$900 million) judgment against them, over alleged fraud related to the construction of the Piarco International Airport. The trio’s US legal teams filed the appeal last week after Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Reemberto Diaz approved the final judgment sought by the State, which was initially approved by a jury in March. Kuei Tung and Guiterrez Jr filed their appeal jointly, while Ferguson’s was filed separately. Guardian Media was unable to confirm whether the trio posted a bond covering the entire judgment sum plus two years’ interest, which is necessary to stay the enforcement of the judgment pending the outcome of the appeal. Read more here



Central Statistical Office: Inflation went down in April

The Central Statistical Office (CSO), in a release on the retail price index, has reported a 0.5 per cent decrease in the inflation rate for April 2023. The inflation rate – measured as the percentage change in the average all items index – was 7.3 per cent for January-April 2023-2022, as compared to 7.8 per cent in the previous period. For January-April 2022-2021 the inflation rate was 4.3 per cent. The all items index, calculated from the prices collected for the month of April 2023, was 122.8, representing no change above/below the index (all items) for March 2023. The index for food and non-alcoholic beverages reflected a 1.1 per cent decrease, from 146.1 in March 2023 to 144.5 in April 2023. The CSO said the downward movement in prices of pumpkin, melongene, hot peppers, ochroes, tomatoes, grapes, carrots, pimento, table margarine and chives significantly contributed to this decrease. Read more here

Heritage names new CEO

Erik Keskula has been selected as the incoming chief executive officer of Heritage Petroleum, the State-owned oil company yesterday stated. Keskula will serve as Heritage’s CEO-designate from June 1 to June 13 and will assume full responsibility when the current CEO Arlene Chow officially retires from the position. Chow’s retirement takes effect on June 13. “The selection of Mr Keskula as the new CEO followed a rigorous recruitment process which considered candidates from Trinidad and Tobago and the international oil and gas industry,” Heritage stated in a release yesterday. Read more here



President Ali declares three days of national mourning

In the wake of the deadly fire at the Mahdia Secondary School female dormitory, President, Dr Irfaan Ali, has declared three days of national mourning and has said that the national flag will be flown at half-staff at all public buildings in honour of the children who lost their lives.“Today is one of the saddest days of my life as President. It is a day that I wished never occurred,” the Head of State said after speaking with parents, guardians, and relatives of the 19 victims. During a live update to the nation on Monday, President Ali said that government is fully committed to assisting those affected by this heartbreaking incident and will work tirelessly to ensure that they receive the necessary care and assistance during this difficult time. “I’m committing, as I have done to the family members already, our full, unconditional, unhindered support for the families and these children; whether it be medical, social, counselling, financial, transportation, accommodation- whatever the form of support required, the state will provide that support to the families, to the children,” the President said while in Mahdia. Read more here



Ukraine war: Fleeing Belgorod residents told to stay away

Residents in Russia's Belgorod region who have fled their homes due to fighting there have been urged not to return yet. Russian officials say an armed "sabotage" group crossed from Ukraine and attacked the Grayvoronsky district by the border on Monday. Moscow has now launched a terrorism investigation as fighting continues. Ukraine denies responsibility and said Russian citizens from two paramilitary groups were behind the incursion. No deaths have been reported in the fighting but a number of people are believed to have been injured. That includes two civilians amongst those being evacuated, the region's governor, Vyacheslav Gladkov, said on Tuesday. He added that air defences had shot down drones overnight, damaging buildings. Read more here

23rd May 2023


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