Daily Brief - Tuesday 2nd April, 2019

NEWS

Prisoner jumps off TT Spirit to escape

Matthew Woods appeared before the Scarborough Magistrates Court after he tried to escape custody this morning while prison officers were transferring him from Tobago to Trinidad. Police reports said he jumped off the TT Spirit while it was still in harbour and tried to swim ashore. Read more here

Malta ferry gets nod for seabridge

The pro­pos­al for the lease of the Jean De La Valette (JDLV) as a tem­po­rary in­ter-is­land fer­ry to ease up the seabridge woes is al­ready be­fore Cab­i­net. Dur­ing an in­ter­view with Guardian Me­dia last Fri­day, Trans­port Min­is­ter Ro­han Sinanan said the new ves­sel, cur­rent­ly sched­uled to ar­rive by the end of May, will re­place the limp­ing T&T Ex­press, which Gov­ern­ment plans to sell, un­til two new fer­ries ar­rive in T&T next year. How­ev­er, he dis­missed sug­ges­tions this news was new, adding he had raised it in Par­lia­ment ‘about a month ago’. Read more here

 

POLITICS

TT signs Cariforum agreement with UK

TT has officially signed on to the Cariforum-UK Economic Partnership Agreement (Cariforum-UK EPA). In a ceremony today, TT's High Commissioner to the UK, Orville London, signed the deal on behalf of the country, along with the UK's Minister for Trade Policy, George Hollingbery. Cabinet approved the deal last Thursday. In a release after the signing, Trade Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon said the government reaffirmed its commitment to facilitating trade relationships in the country's interest. Read more here

No good offer for moth-balled Petrotrin refinery yet

Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley says he ex­pects to get a new op­er­a­tor for the moth-balled for­mer Petrotrin Pointe-a-Pierre re­fin­ery. “We ex­pect to have it leased in a mat­ter of months. We are go­ing out to find out what the in­ter­na­tion­al mar­ket wants,” Row­ley told CNC3’s Morn­ing Brew host Hema Ramkissoon dur­ing a wide-rang­ing in­ter­view on the econ­o­my and Gov­ern­ment’s plans go­ing for­ward yes­ter­day. Row­ley’s state­ment comes af­ter man­age­ment at the re­for­mat­ted Pointe-a-Pierre re­fin­ery is­sued a re­quest for pro­pos­al (RFP) for the Paria Fu­el Trad­ing Com­pa­ny Lim­it­ed re­cent­ly. En­er­gy Min­is­ter Franklin Khan sub­se­quent­ly walked back the pro­pos­al, claim­ing the sale of Paria Fu­el was “in­ad­ver­tent­ly is­sued” by the com­pa­ny’s chair­man Wil­fred Es­pinet in the RFP. Khan said the RFP will be with­drawn, on­ly for Row­ley to counter this by say­ing they would sell the com­pa­ny if they got a got bid. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

THA to move away as top employer

Chief Sec­re­tary of the To­ba­go House of As­sem­bly Kelvin Charles has said the con­tin­ued em­ploy­ment by the THA of 60 per cent of the work­ers in To­ba­go is not sus­tain­able. Charles said the mod­el need­ed to change and called on the pri­vate sec­tor on the is­land to in­crease the num­ber of peo­ple they hire in their busi­ness­es. Charles de­liv­ered the fea­ture ad­dress yes­ter­day at the launch of an En­tre­pre­neur­ship De­vel­op­ment Train­ing Pro­gramme host­ed joint­ly by YTEPP Lim­it­ed and bpTT. The event took place at the Vic­tor E Bruce Fi­nan­cial Com­plex, Scar­bor­ough. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Reid out of NW St Ann - Embattled ex-minister to step down as JLP caretaker

Discarded Education Minister Ruel Reid has pulled the plug on his foray into representational politics, the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) has revealed. Further, JLP General Secretary Dr Horace Chang has disclosed that his party, which forms the Government, is putting in place a tougher screening processes for prospective candidates, but made it clear that this move began before Reid’s saga. Chang confirmed during an interview with The Gleaner yesterday that Reid has already conveyed to the party executive his intention to step down as caretaker for the constituency of North West St Ann. However, Chang said this had not yet been communicated in writing. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

India anti-satellite missile test a 'terrible thing,' NASA chief says

India's anti-satellite missile test created at least 400 pieces of orbital debris, the head of NASA says -- placing the International Space Station (ISS) and its astronauts at risk. NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said Monday that just 60 pieces of debris were large enough to track. Of those, 24 went above the apogee of the ISS, the point of the space station's orbit farthest from the Earth. "That is a terrible, terrible thing to create an event that sends debris at an apogee that goes above the International Space Station," Bridenstine said in a live-streamed NASA town hall meeting. "That kind of activity is not compatible with the future of human spaceflight." Read more here

Brexit: No deal more likely but can be avoided – Barnier

A no-deal Brexit is now more likely but can still be avoided, the EU's chief negotiator has said. Michel Barnier said a long extension to the UK's current 12 April exit date carried "significant risks for the EU" and that a "strong justification would be needed" before the EU would agree. On Monday night, MPs voted on four alternatives to the PM's withdrawal deal, but none gained a majority. Theresa May has begun five hours of cabinet talks to tackle the deadlock. BBC deputy political editor John Pienaar said the cabinet was "irreconcilably split" and "almost any outcome is conceivable", with one camp preferring no deal, the other a "softer" Brexit. Read more here

2nd April 2019

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