Daily Brief - Wednesday 29th November, 2023


Republic Bank, Rapidfire helping children see bright future

Poor eyesight, especially in children, has been identified as one of the lingering after-effects of the covid19 pandemic. Rapidfire Kidz Foundation, through its Eyes Right project, has teamed up with Republic Bank Ltd to ensure the inability to see properly does not deny a child the right to a bright future. On November 19, Rapidfire distributed eyeglasses to 49 students of Esperanza Presbyterian and Phoenix Park Government Primary schools at a function at the Couva/Point Lisas Chamber. Foundation president Kevin Ratiram said the function also marked World Children’s Day, observed on November 20. Ratiram said to date his organisation and their various partners, has donated 1,135 pairs of glasses to students across the country. Feature speaker Dr Ronnie Bhola, chief surgeon, Trinidad Eye Hospital congratulated Rapidfire for the initiative. Read more here

CAL negotiations with pilots break down

Caribbean Airlines Limited (CAL) has now called for the intervention of Minister of Labour Stephen Mc Clashie, following a breakdown in negotiations with its pilots. In a media release yesterday, CAL said it had engaged the Trinidad and Tobago Airline Pilots’ Association (TTALPA) on November 22, 2023, regarding the ongoing negotiations for the collective agreement for pilots from the period September 1, 2015, to August 31, 2018. “After careful consideration and in light of the challenges faced in reaching a mutually agreeable resolution, Caribbean Airlines Limited has decided to engage the processes under the Industrial Relations Act and to have the matter reported to the Minister of Labour,” CAL said. It added, “Caribbean Airlines Limited remains committed to a constructive and transparent dialogue with TTALPA and is hopeful that the intervention of the Minister of Labour will lead to an early resolution.” Read more here



Government spends over US$3b on fuel imports

The government spent over US $3 billion in foreign exchange to import fuel for local use between 2019 and 2022 through Paria Fuel Trading Company.The revelation came from Energy and Energy Industries Minister Stuart Young in response to a question posed by opposition senator Wade Mark during Tuesday’s senate sitting.Young said Paria spent:  US$487,854,949.83 in 2019 US$506,160,876.47 in 2020 US$581,984,541.94 in 2021 and US$986,332,229.25 in 2022. 

This gives a total of US$ 3,050,187,547.32 over the period.In response to a previous question, Young said Heritage Petroleum Company Ltd earned a foreign-exchange total of US$3,534,939,939 over the same period. Read more here

Imbert extends deadline for TTRA again

Finance Minister Colm Imbert has again extended the deadline for the implementation of the long-touted Trinidad and Tobago Revenue Authority (TTRA). State attorneys made the disclosure yesterday in correspondence sent to the Court of Appeal in relation to a pending appeal from the Public Services Association (PSA), over the dismissal of its lawsuit regarding the move to replace the Customs and Excise Division (CED) and the Inland Revenue Division (IRD) with the TTRA.  In the correspondence, obtained by Guardian Media, state attorney Svetlana Dass, on behalf of the Chief State Solicitor, announced that Imbert had decided to extend the deadline, which was initially set as August before being deferred to December 1, to March 1. Read more here



Manatee field one step closer to final decision

American engineering company McDermott has received a contract from Shell Trinidad and Tobago for the Manatee gas field development project. In a news release yesterday, the company said it received limited notice to proceed with an engineering, procurement, construction and installation (EPCI) contract to do work on the field located off the east coast of T&T. The release stated that subject to Shell taking a final investment decision, the Manatee project scope is for the design, procurement, fabrication, transportation, installation, and commissioning of a wellhead platform, offshore and onshore gas pipelines. "This award follows our successful delivery of the front-end engineering design for the Manatee gas field," said Mahesh Swaminathan, McDermott's senior vice president, Subsea and Floating Facilities. Read more here

UTC wants Eastern C’bean to invest in GBFL

Investing carries a lot of risk, but according to Crystal Rodriguez-Greaves, chief risk officer at the Unit Trust Corporation (UTC), it is important that you do not to default to a negative perception of risk. Speaking at the UTC’s Global Balanced Fund Ltd (GBFL) investor engagement in St Lucia on Monday, she added, “A lot of people focus on one factor which is just your willingness to accept risk, but if we think about it and look at the emotions behind risk, we will be classified as risk-averse because no one wants to lose capital. But there’s another factor that you should consider which is your ability to take on risk and that will be determined by how young you are and the longer investment time horizon. Always consider these two factors and do not default to the feeling about risk.” Read more here



Guyana remains open for business

Dr. Singh tells British Trade Mission; says previous missions have recorded great success. Senior Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh, on Wednesday, welcomed and assured another visiting British Trade Mission currently in Guyana seeking investment and business opportunities, that Guyana remains open for business with its rapidly growing economy. The Minister was at the time meeting with the group of British entrepreneurs led by British High Commissioner to Guyana, Jane Miller, at the Guyana Marriott Hotel in Kingston, Georgetown. The Mission is a collaborative effort between the British High Commission, the Caribbean Council, the British Chamber of Commerce and the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), with the aim of increasing trade and investment between the United Kingdom and Guyana. Read more here



Freed Hamas captives tell of fear, squalor and hunger

Bare benches for beds in "suffocating", airless rooms. Little to no food. A child captive forced by Hamas to watch the carnage of 7 October on video. Stories emerging from those freed from Gaza - mostly through their relatives - paint a picture of weeks spent in squalor, uncertainty and fear. One hostage, Ruti Munder, 78, said she learned her son had been killed in Israel by listening to a radio used by guards. Deborah Cohen claimed her 12-year-old nephew was made to watch videos of the Hamas rampage through southern Israel. More than 60 of the estimated 240 people taken hostage by Hamas have now been freed under the Israel-Hamas truce deal. Few have spoken directly about their experiences, but those who have - either themselves or through their families - relay a captivity that has left a host of emotional and physical scars. Read more here

29th November 2023


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