Daily Brief - Tuesday 4th September, 2018


Trade delegation to strengthen ties with Colombia

Min­is­ter of Trade and In­dus­try, Paula Gopee-Scoon will lead a del­e­ga­tion of 10 pri­vate sec­tor com­pa­nies along with se­nior ex­ec­u­tives of the Trinidad and To­ba­go Man­u­fac­tur­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion (TTMA) and state en­ter­prise ex­porTT Lim­it­ed on a Trade Mis­sion to Colom­bia from Sep­tem­ber 2-6, 2018. The min­istry says the thrust of the mis­sion is in align­ment with spe­cif­ic ini­tia­tives out­lined in the Gov­ern­ment Pol­i­cy Frame­work to re­build growth and sus­tain the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor. The mis­sion is to as­sist with fur­ther pen­e­tra­tion of the Latin Amer­i­can mar­ket by pro­vid­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for lo­cal ex­porters to gain first-hand knowl­edge of the mar­ket op­por­tu­ni­ties, ex­plore new com­mer­cial prospects through or­gan­ised busi­ness to busi­ness meet­ings and build net­works which will fa­cil­i­tate in­creased ex­ports to Colom­bia. Read more here



Reports: Bank of Baroda closing TT ops

The Indian media are reporting that the state-owned Bank of Baroda is closing its TT and Ghanaian subsidiaries, as part of a strategy to “rationalise international operations.” The Indian financial news outlet LiveMint reported that this would be the first time any Indian state-owned bank had tried to sell its international units. Total business between the Ghana and TT operations is estimated to be less than US$150 million. Read more here

Thieves hit Republic Bank’s Avenue branch

Thieves made off with over $160,000 in cash af­ter break­ing in­to Re­pub­lic Bank’s Ari­api­ta Av­enue, Port-of-Spain branch over the In­de­pen­dence long week­end. Po­lice were told the break-in at the branch, lo­cat­ed on the cor­ner of Ari­api­ta Av­enue and Mur­ray Street, oc­curred some­time be­tween Sat­ur­day night and Mon­day morn­ing. Se­cu­ri­ty of­fi­cers re­port­ing for du­ty at the bank yes­ter­day dis­cov­ered that a wall near the vault had been bust­ed in­to. How­ev­er, it ap­peared the ban­dits were un­able in their at­tempt to ac­cess the bank’s main vault. But fur­ther checks by bank of­fi­cials re­vealed that a cash bin had been breached. Po­lice said the ban­dits made off with TT$127,000, US$5,000, Cdn$500, £205 and Eu­ros $427. Read more here

25 schools shut on first day

A total of 25 schools were unable to open or had to close prematurely yesterday because of incomplete repairs and damage caused by last month’s earthquake. Read more here



Carolyn challenges Khan to public debate on Petrotrin

Congress of the People (COP) leader Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan is challenging Energy Minister Franklin Khan to a public debate on government’s decision to close the refinery of state-owned Petrotrin. Seepersad-Bachan who served as Energy Minister between 2010 and 2011 is also calling for the details of the McKinsey report on Petrotrin to be made public. She made the call while speaking to Petrotrin workers in Penal on Sunday morning. Read more here

Fight to bitter end

Oil­field Work­ers’ Trade Union (OW­TU) pres­i­dent gen­er­al An­cel Ro­get has ad­mit­ted his union is in no po­si­tion to buy Petrotrin’s bil­lion-dol­lar re­fin­ery but says this is a ruse as the Gov­ern­ment al­ready has a pur­chas­er in mind. His com­ments came hours af­ter Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley, in a tele­vised ad­dress to the na­tion on Sun­day, of­fered the OW­TU first chance at ac­quir­ing the re­fin­ery fol­low­ing Gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion last week to shut down its op­er­a­tions. Yes­ter­day, Ro­get de­clared an all-out war on the Gov­ern­ment against the treat­ment met­ed out to the work­ing class and unions. Read more here

Energy Minister: No secret buyer

There is no secret buyer for the Petrotrin refinery, Energy and Energy Industries Minister Franklin Khan said yesterday. Read more here



Petrochemical sector crucial to our economic prosperity

In just over a month, the coun­try’s fi­nan­cial year comes to an end and the Min­is­ter of Fi­nance will find that the en­er­gy sec­tor has grown in 2018. This growth has tak­en place on the back of con­tin­ued in­crease in nat­ur­al gas pro­duc­tion which has had the ef­fect of in­creased pro­duc­tion down­stream com­modi­ties and in­creased ex­port from At­lantic LNG. In fact, the Min­is­ter of Fi­nance re­cent­ly re­vealed that for the first half of the year the coun­try had al­ready col­lect­ed 800 mil­lion more from the petro­chem­i­cal sec­tor than it had for the first six months of fis­cal 2017. He said, “Drilling deep­er in­to the fig­ures, in the petro­chem­i­cal sec­tor, col­lec­tion of cor­po­ra­tion tax has moved from $371 mil­lion in the pe­ri­od Oc­to­ber 2016 to April 2017 to $1.2 bil­lion in the pe­ri­od Oc­to­ber 2017 to April 2018, an in­crease year-on-year of $835 mil­lion.” Read more here

Tewarie: Unease over Petrotrin

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s offer to Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) to have first call on the refinery seemed to be “almost tongue-in-cheek”, Caroni Central MP Dr Bhoe Tewarie said yesterday. Read more here



Culture Of Death - Rape And Incest Not Enough To Justify Abortion, Say Christian Lawyers

Given what they believe to be "a culture of death" in the country, members of the Lawyers' Christian Fellowship (LCF) are urging Jamaicans to reject abortion and instead place more efforts on saving mothers and their unborn babies. Towards this end, president of the LCF, Helene Coley-Nicholson, is hoping that Jamaicans will support the group's 'A Time for Life' campaign, which was launched yesterday at the New Testament Church of God headquarters at Fairway Avenue in St Andrew. The group is lobbying for the recommendation to decriminalise abortion to be aborted, among other things. "Jamaica has seen enough violence, enough deaths, enough murder, enough rape. There is a culture of death and it includes the killing of the unborn," she said during the press conference to launch the campaign. Read more here



Trump comes out swinging ahead of big political week

President Donald Trump couldn't wait to launch into the fall political season, an intense 10-week conflagration that marks a hugely consequential chapter in his turbulent presidency. He spent Labor Day, when campaign politicking goes into overdrive, unleashing a raging tweet storm blasting his beleaguered Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other favorite targets, such as fired FBI Director James Comey, officials leading the Russian probe and the media. But the critical period that might lay the foundations for the nation's ideological course for years and even decades to come will truly get underway on Tuesday morning when confirmation hearings start for Trump's second Supreme Court pick, Brett Kavanaugh. Read more here

Syria war: Russia 'resumes Idlib air strikes'

Russian warplanes have reportedly bombed the rebel-held Syrian province of Idlib, where troops have been preparing for a major offensive. If confirmed, they would be the first such air strikes there in three weeks. Earlier, US President Donald Trump warned Syria's Bashar al-Assad against launching a "reckless attack" on Idlib. But Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov rejected the warning and said the Syrian army was "getting ready" to clear a "nest of terrorists" there. Mr Peskov said the al-Qaeda-linked jihadist fighters who dominate Idlib were threatening Russian military bases in Syria and blocking a political solution to the seven-year civil war. The UN has warned that an attack on Idlib, where 2.9 million people live, "will overwhelm capacities and has the potential to create a humanitarian emergency at a scale not yet seen through this crisis". Read more here


4th September 2018


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