Daily Brief - Wednesday 15th July, 2020


Man arrested for quadruple murder

Homicide Investigations Bureau officers have detained a 22-year-old man from Princes Town in connection with a quadruple murder in New Grant back in May. A file is being prepared to send to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for advice. The suspect was arrested some weeks ago but was released without charge. When new information came to hand, he was re-arrested and remains in custody. A farmer found the bodies of Venezuelan Guimar Jose Rausseo Marcano, 35, and three men on May 25 at about 6.30 am in an agricultural area off Daly Road in New Grant. All four were shot in the head. Read more here

Man found dead in police station cell

Relatives of Gary Layne, who was found dead in the holding cell of the Arouca Police Station on Sunday afternoon, are calling for a full probe into what happened, as they claim he would never do harm to himself as he had his five-year-old daughter “to live for.” According to a police report, Layne, 30, of Mausica, was placed in a cell in the Homicide Bureau of Investigations Region II area of the station. He was waiting to be interviewed by investigators over a conspiracy to murder and gang-related offences. However, officers who were checking on prisoners later found Layne unresponsive in the cell. He was taken to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex in Mt Hope but was declared dead. Read more here



PM: Darryl Smith fired for interfering

The Prime Minister sought to clear the air over the dismissal of former Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs Darryl Smith, saying he was fired over his interference in the public service. Speaking at the PNM’s virtual campaign meeting on Tuesday night, Dr Rowley said that contrary to speculation, Smith was not fired over alleged sexual misconduct and added that while he is not obligated to make public why he hired or fired ministers, he felt it necessary to speak out on the circumstances surrounding Smith’s dismissal. He said the decision came about when information was made available that Smith instructed the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Sport to remove the cause for the termination of a female member of staff. Read more here

Moruga gets $90m agro-processing plant

As he officially opened the first agro-processing plant in the country yesterday, Prime Minister Dr  Keith Rowley said it was a gift to the people of south Trinidad.  During his feature address at the opening of the $90 million Moruga Agro-Processing And Light Industrial Park, Rowley said the operation will generate thousands of jobs and will increase food supply and improve food security in the country.  Taking a jab at his critics, Rowley said there has been much talk about investment in the agricultural sector but his Government had finally delivered. “That should come as a surprise to many people because when you consider the amount of talk about agriculture in this country, one would have thought that somewhere in Trinidad and Tobago, agro-processing would have demanded that a park specialised for that purpose would exist somewhere.” He said many of those who talk about agriculture actually know nothing about the sector. Read more here



Region starts reopening borders

While Trinidad and Tobago’s borders remain closed indefinitely, other countries in the region have started re-opening with stringent protocols and policies in place. Read more here



Leaked letter reveals Hutchinson demanded SCJ Holdings expedite land offer to sweetheart’s company

J.C. Hutchinson, a de facto agriculture minister, urged an entity in his ministry to give possession of sugar lands at Holland Estate in St Elizabeth to a company in which his partner was a director and shareholder, according to leaked documents that suggest the minister was more forceful in the selection process than he initially let on. Hutchinson’s partner, Lola Marshall-Williams, has reportedly quit in the aftermath of controversy. It has also been revealed that Hutchinson’s son operates a store on the Holland Estate lands. Companies Office of Jamaica records show that Jason Hutchinson is registered as a sole trader of Holland Estate Farm and Garden Supplies, which operates on the lands. Read more here

Not Those Results

A private citizen has moved to the High Court in an attempt to compel the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to declare the results of the General and Regional Elections in accordance with the Declarations made by the 10 Returning Officers in mid-March as advised by the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield. Ultimately, the applicant, Misenga Jones, a registered voter from Tucville Georgetown, wants the Presidential Candidate to be deemed elected, in keeping with those declarations and the advice of the Chief Elections Officer and not on the basis of the data generated during the National Recount. Read more here



Huawei: China attacks UK's 'groundless' ban of 5G kit

The Chinese government has said it is "strongly opposed" to the UK's "groundless" ban of Huawei's 5G kit. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying added Beijing would "take measures to safeguard" the "legitimate interests" of Chinese companies. But President Trump welcomed the move. "We convinced many countries, many countries - and I did this myself for the most part - not to use Huawei because we think it's an unsafe security risk," the US leader said. Mr Trump made the comments as he attempted to increase pressure on Beijing by announcing an executive order ending preferential treatment for Hong Kong in response to a new security law brought in by China. Read more here

US allies once seemed cowed by China. Now they're responding with rare coordination

Chinese President Xi Jinping surprised the world with a speech at Davos in 2017, defending free trade and joint action on climate change as then US president-elect Donald Trump argued for precisely the opposite. It might have been an overambitious pitch by Xi to position China as the world's next leader, but it also seemed a genuine sign that Beijing was committing to the international rules-based order. Today, the warmth in the room at Davos has all but gone. The coronavirus pandemic has transformed the world and now some of those leaders who were so impressed by Xi's vision for China are complaining of Beijing's state secrecy, misinformation and the muzzling of whistleblowers during the initial stages of the coronavirus outbreak, allegations the Chinese government firmly denies. Read more here



15th July 2020


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