Daily Brief - Wednesday 30th January, 2019

NEWS

Messy problem closes Cedros port

Amid the uncertainty of the Venezuela political crisis came news in the Senate yesterday that the Government had on Monday closed the Cedros Port because of an overflowing cesspit. In reply to a question from Opposition Senator Wade Mark, Minister of National Security Stuart Young confirmed the port was closed on Monday. He said the disrepair had affected the operations of local police, immigration and customs officers. “When it was shut they were not able to take any inflow of persons through that legal port of entry,” Young said. “Until it is reopened persons cannot come in through that legal port of entry.” He could not tell Mark when it would be reopened, as he was awaiting an assessment by engineers from the Ministry of Works and Transport. Young lamented the matter was highlighted by an official of the local regional corporation. Read more here

WASA moves to update water legislation

As T&T stares down the bar­rel of what of­fi­cials de­scribe as one of the coun­try’s “harsh­est dry sea­sons”, the Wa­ter and Sew­er­age Au­thor­i­ty (WASA) has be­gun the process to up­date the leg­is­la­tion which gov­erns the body. It would see the in­crease of cur­rent fines as well as wa­ter rates. These up­dates act­ing WASA CEO, Alan Poon King said, on The Morn­ing Brew, would help the body to bet­ter per­form their du­ties. Speak­ing about the fines for wast­ing wa­ter, the CEO lament­ed that cur­rent laws are out­dat­ed. “The law we are un­der… was en­act­ed in 1965. At that time, the grand fine of $75 was ap­plied. Our law has not changed since then. We are now mak­ing steps to have those fines in­creased sig­nif­i­cant­ly but that has to go through a process,” he said. Read more here

 

POLITICS

PM meets with US rep to the UN

The Prime Minister yesterday met with the US representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Jonathan Cohen, during a bilateral meeting between countries to discuss the unfurling political crisis in Venezuela. Rowley’s meeting with the US representative followed a full day of meetings as part of a greater Caricom delegation that met on Monday with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. A release from the Office of the Prime Minister said Rowley, on behalf of TT and as part of Caricom, outlined concerns about the volatility in Venezuelan and the “existential threat” it poses to the stability of the region. Read more here

Govt seeks advice on Dragon Field gas plan

Gov­ern­ment is seek­ing ad­vice to as­cer­tain the ef­fect on its Drag­on Field gas plan of the US Gov­ern­ment’s sanc­tions on Venezuela’s Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) oil com­pa­ny, Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Min­is­ter Stu­art Young has said. Young con­firmed this in the Sen­ate re­ply­ing to Op­po­si­tion ques­tions af­ter the US this week dropped sanc­tions on PDVSA, in­creas­ing pres­sure on the em­bat­tled Nico­las Maduro ad­min­is­tra­tion. The US is sup­port­ing Venezue­lan Na­tion­al As­sem­bly head Juan Guai­do who de­clared him­self Pres­i­dent last week. As in­sta­bil­i­ty con­tin­ued in T&T’s neigh­bour, the US State De­part­ment al­so in­creased its trav­el ad­vi­so­ry on Venezuela to the high­est lev­el, warn­ing cit­i­zens not to trav­el there due to “crime, civ­il un­rest, poor health in­fra­struc­ture, and ar­bi­trary ar­rest and de­ten­tion of US cit­i­zens. The US said it has lim­it­ed abil­i­ty to pro­vide emer­gency ser­vices to US cit­i­zens in Venezuela. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

How close is the CLICO resolution?

Today marks the tenth anniversary of the news conference at the Central Bank at which then-governor, Ewart Williams, announced that the institution was taking control of CLICO Investment Bank (CIB), transferring the third-party assets and liabilities of CIB and CMMB to First Citizens and providing financial assistance to the insurance companies CLICO and British America Insurance Company (BAICO). Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Police Feud - Federation Boots Boss After Two Days Of Crossfire

Arlene McBean, the vocal police corporal who became the first female chairman of the 75-year-old Police Federation, has been sacked from the post, sending ripples throughout the Jamaica Constabulary Force. McBean was removed by the executive of the federation, the union for rank-and-file police, following a no-confidence motion. The decision came after two days of an extraordinary meeting with delegates of the body between Monday and Tuesday. A circular from the Police Federation obtained by The Gleaner said the body deliberated on “internal matters” during “frank, factual and clear discussions on the state of the Police Federation”. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

The US wants to halt Huawei's global advance. It may be too late

Huawei's rise as a global tech company is under threat as an increasing number of governments express concern that its technology could be used by Chinese spies. But the US-led campaign against the Chinese company may do little more than act as a brake on growth, given the dominant position Huawei has already built in fifth generation (5G) wireless technology. It has loyal customers in emerging markets and parts of Europe, and expects to become the world's top smartphone seller by next year. "This campaign will only slow Huawei's business growth in some countries in European and Asia Pacific markets," said Charlie Dai, an analyst with research firm Forrester based in Beijing. "But I don't think it's going to retreat from any market at all in the foreseeable future." Read more here

Brexit: EU 'united' on deal as Theresa May asks for talks

The EU is "united" over the negotiated Brexit deal, the bloc's chief negotiator Michel Barnier says, after the UK PM said she wanted to reopen it. Theresa May is expected to continue talks with the EU after MPs backed a plan to renegotiate her Brexit deal. MPs voted 317 to 301 in favour of changing the backstop plan - the bit of the deal designed to avoid the return of Northern Ireland border checks. But Mr Barnier said the EU stood by the existing withdrawal agreement. "The EU institutions remain united and we stand by the agreement we have negotiated with the UK," he said. Read more here

30th January 2019

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