Daily Brief - Wednesday 22 May, 2019

NEWS

TT, Ontario parliaments twinned

Building on informal co-operation between their elected members and staffs and on historical links between their populations, the Parliament of TT and Legislative Assembly of Ontario yesterday signed an agreement to become officially twinned to each other. A document was signed by Senate President Christine Kangaloo and Speaker Bridgid Annisette-George on one hand, and assembly speaker Ted Arnott, in a ceremony at the Parliament building also attended by local MPs and senators. Kangaloo, in her welcome address, spelt out the longstanding links between TT and Ontario, a theme picked up by Annisette-George and Arnott, who stated their hopes for the twinning. Kangaloo said TT and Ontario have long had a “unique and particularly close bond,” Read more here

Six freed of murder, insufficient evidence for trial

Six men from Diego Mar­tin, who spent al­most a decade be­hind bars await­ing tri­al for mur­der, were freed on Tues­day af­ter a mag­is­trate found there was in­suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence for them to face a judge and ju­ry. The case against the ac­cused, who were charged with mur­der­ing a Cepep work­er, were among the 53 mat­ters which had to be restart­ed due to the short-lived ju­di­cial ap­point­ment of for­mer chief mag­is­trate Mar­cia Ay­ers-Cae­sar. Af­ter spend­ing al­most a decade on re­mand, Ak­ili Charles, Chic­ki Por­tillo, Ka­reem Gomez, Levi Joseph and Is­rael “Arnold” Lara walked out of the Port-of-Spain Mag­is­trates’ Court as free men. Ay­ers-Cae­sar’s suc­ces­sor, Chief Mag­is­trate Maria Bus­by-Ear­le-Cad­dle, up­held a no-case sub­mis­sion at the end of their sec­ond pre­lim­i­nary in­quiry on Tues­day. Read more here

 

POLITICS

'Selfish' parents blocking adoption

Tobago East MP Ayanna Webster-Roy is appealing to parents who have children languishing in orphanages to renounce their rights and allow them to be adopted. Webster-Roy said parents who prefer to leave their children in an institution and wait on them to succeed in life were acting selfishly. Speaking at the opening of the Children's Authority Tobago Regional Office and Assessment Centre last Friday, she said, "I’m calling on parents who have sons and daughters in homes, and you know you really don’t care, you know you have no intention of claiming that child, please allow that boy or girl to be adopted. We have a number of men and women in TT willing, ready and able to adopt and we have children available for adoption.” Read more here

AG: UNC using Privy Council ruling to target witness

At­tor­ney Gen­er­al Faris Al-Rawi said the Unit­ed Na­tion­al Con­gress (UNC) is trum­pet­ing Mon­day’s Privy Coun­cil rul­ing to fu­el a con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry against the State’s key wit­ness against Anand Ram­lo­gan and Ger­ald Ramdeen who are fac­ing cor­rup­tion charges. Al-Rawi pushed back at Op­po­si­tion Leader Kam­la Per­sad-Bisses­sar’s in­ter­pre­ta­tion of Mon­day’s Privy Coun­cil rul­ing, which al­lows UNC ac­tivist Ravi Ma­haraj to head back to court and try to get doc­u­ments why the State ter­mi­nat­ed a law­suit on Petrotrin’s failed World Gas-to-liq­uid project against its then ex­ec­u­tive chair­man Mal­colm Jones. Ma­haraj brought an ap­peal to the Privy Coun­cil for ju­di­cial re­view when his free­dom of in­for­ma­tion (FOI) re­quest seek­ing to ob­tain key doc­u­ments was de­nied by the lo­cal courts. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Sando Waterfront project begins

After decades of false starts, the San Fernando Waterfront Redevelopment Project has begun. This was confirmed on Monday by the Ministry of Planning in a status update. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

More Heat On Holness

Two prominent business leaders have renewed calls for Prime Minister Andrew Holness to address frontally issues surrounding his yet-to-be-cleared statutory declarations. Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) President Howard Mitchell said that Holness’ continued failure to address his long-overdue declarations could result in the erosion of confidence in the Government and Jamaica as a destination for foreign direct investment. “We are concerned and we would at least like to know why Mr Holness has not made his declarations known. We understand that circumstances alter cases, but we believe that Government must be transparent and accountable,” Mitchell said. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Brexit: PM under fire over new Brexit plan

Theresa May will make the case for her new Brexit plan in Parliament later, amid signs that Conservative opposition to her leadership is hardening. The prime minister will outline changes to the Withdrawal Agreement Bill – including a promise to give MPs a vote on holding another referendum. But shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said the offer was "too weak". Some senior Tories will today ask party bosses for a rule change to allow a no-confidence vote in her leadership. Environment Secretary Michael Gove defended the PM's plan, urging MPs to "take a little bit of time and step back" to "reflect" on the detail of the bill - due to be published later today. Read more here

Infrastructure meeting gives Trump and Pelosi time to discuss a different i-word

Everything in Washington comes down to this: It's House Speaker Nancy Pelosi vs. President Donald Trump. America's two most powerful leaders will come face-to-face again Wednesday in the latest twist of a many-layered test of wills that has momentous implications for the nation's future. Pelosi will have a frying-pan-into-the-fire moment when she heads to the White House from a meeting of her Democratic caucus, which is pulsating with calls for Trump's impeachment. Trump offered a window into his state of mind Wednesday morning, lashing out at Democrats for refusing to accept his mantra of "NO COLLUSION." Read more here

22nd May 2019

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