Daily Brief - Wednesday 31st May, 2017


Lawyers were duped

One senior attorney who attended the specially-convened ‘summit’ which determined that the 53 cases left unresolved by former chief magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar be restarted “de novo,” says no such decision was made. According to Senior Counsel Sophia Chote in a letter to Law Association president Douglas Mendes,SC, no decision was taken at last Wednesday’s meeting to have the cases restarted. Chote was among those invited to the meeting at the Hall of Justice where, according to a brief statement from the Judiciary’s Court Protocol and Information Manager Alicia Carter-Fisher it said that a “consensus” was reached at the meeting between key stakeholders to restart Ayers-Caesar’s unfinished cases from the beginning. Read more here

Alexandrov ready to quit

Forensic pathologist Dr Valery Alexandrov says he is ready to pack up and leave before his contract ends in 2019 because he is tired of the mismanagement at the Forensic Science Centre. Alexandrov told the T&T Guardian he is “sick and tired” of what has been happening, particularly with Tobago autopsies. He said he had to fly to Tobago recently to perform three autopsies because the two other pathologists, Dr Eslyn McDonald-Burris is currently on vacation and Dr Hughvon Des Vignes has repeatedly refused to go to Tobago to do autopsies and instead asked for the bodies to be brought to Trinidad. Alexandrov said twice before there were problems where families had to wait weeks before they could have closure because autopsies were not being done. Of the 20 autopsies done for the year so far in Tobago, 11 were done by him and the rest by McDonald-Burris, he said. Read more here

We Will Finish Our Schools

 Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS) secretary general Sat Maharaj is calling on the Government to release two Hindu schools to the SDMS for completion as construction works on the schools have been delayed for months. As the nation celebrated the 172nd anniversary of the arrival of East Indian indentured workers to the country yesterday, the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS) held its annual Indian Arrival Day celebrations in Debe. The festivities began with a procession of the SDMS scouts where various Hindu schools and pupils across the country participated in the walk from the Penal/Debe Regional Corporation headquarters to the Parvati Girls’ Hindu College where an Indian cultural programme was held. Read more here



PM: Venezuela gas deal progressing

Prime Minister (PM) Dr Keith Rowley says “discussions are moving apace” on the historic energy agreement between Trinidad and Tobago (TT) and Venezuela. “Discussions (on) the supply of gas to TT from Venezuelan gas fields and the development of cross-border gas fields...are moving apace and we anticipate early execution of the required agreements to facilitate the production of natural gas from these fields.” Rowley made the announcement yesterday while addressing a breakfast meeting with the Chilean Energy Sector at the Federation of Industry (SOFOFA) in Santiago, Chile. The PM was in Chile on an official visit and is expected to return home today. The prime minister did not provide SOFOFA members with a projected start date for shipment of Venezuelan gas to TT, however on March 16, while speaking at a post-Cabinet news conference, the PM had expressed optimism that a gas sales agreement would be reached “by July of this year.” A Government-to-Government Agreement was signed in Caracas on December 5, 2016. Read more here

Ramdeen renews call for Chief Justice to resign

Opposition Senator Gerald Ramdeen, yesterday renewed his call for the resignation of Chief Justice Ivor Archie, saying he is responsible for the fiasco in the judiciary following the elevation of Chief Magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar to the High Court. Ramdeen, an attorney, called a news conference at his Woodbrook chambers yesterday, declaring that he was “not hiding behind anything to say that the Chief Justice must go.” He said he had information from a summit of specially selected people convened by Archie last week Wednesday to determine the way forward for 53 matters left unresolved by Ayers-Caesar. Read more here

Bachelet: T&T very important to Chile

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet outlined why the visit of Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley was important to her nation while addressing delegations from both countries at La Moneda presidential palace in the capital Santiago on Monday. “Trinidad and Tobago is a very important partner for us in energy matters as our main supplier of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and that’s why, also, Prime Minister (Dr Keith) Rowley and his delegation are going to visit the Quintero LNG processing terminal in the Valparaiso region, and also the photovoltaic (solar energy) plant, El Boco (3.8 megawatt), in Quillota. Read more here



Anand insists on collusion

Former attorney general Anand Ramlogan SC, has insisted that proper protocols were not followed in the fixing of an appointment for the Court of Appeal to hear the State’s legal challenge of a judge’s decision to temporarily halt the enforcement and implementation of the Valuation Return (Property Tax) Form. In a letter in response to Supreme Court Registrar Jade Rodriguez, Ramlogan stuck to his position that proper protocols were not followed, despite her reassurances of the same. Ramlogan in his letter to Rodriguez, sent on Sunday, said he was heartened to know she held the view that proper protocol was followed, but noted that it did confirm collusion between the Attorney General and the Judiciary. Read more here

Airlines could set record in busy travel season

If you’re planning a big vacation trip this summer, move over. You’re going to have lots of company. By air or car, traveler numbers are expected to rise over last year thanks to a decent economy and stable gasoline prices. US airlines expect to carry 234 million passengers from June 1 through Aug 31, up from the summer record of 225 million a year ago, according to the trade group Airlines for America. While fares are edging up overall, they are still relatively affordable by historical standards. And travelers can find deals, especially on routes flown by discount airlines such as Spirit. Read more here

Cause for NIS concern

AS it struggles to cope with the current economic crisis that manifests itself in a series of mini-crises, Government might well ignore the alarm bells being sounded by officials of the National Insurance Board of Trinidad and Tobago (NIBTT) over threats to the sustainability, possibly survival, of the country’s sole national insurance scheme (NIS). After all, the doomsday scenario for the collapse of the NIS, when its benefits expenditures are expected to exceed its contribution and investment incomes, is variously projected to strike between 2030 and 2050, which may seem to be far in the future to worry about today. Read more here



PetroCaribe Safe - Agreements Between Venezuela And Jamaica Secure, Says Embassy Official

Charge d'Affaires of the Venezuelan Embassy, Luis Gutierrez, said the Nicolas Maduro administration remains committed to bilateral agreements between the troubled South American nation and its Caribbean counterparts, including Jamaica. Rocked by an ongoing economic and political crisis, Venezuela has seen its financial output slashed in half since the start of the year because of low price for oil on the world market. Subsequently, the economic fallout has stoked massive food shortage and constant electricity blackouts for millions of people. More than 70 people have been killed in incidents linked to ongoing protests in that country since the opposition launched anti-government demonstrations at the start of April. Read more here

Grenada government rejects 'no choice' arbitration claim

Following a request for arbitration filed earlier this month with the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) by Grenada Private Power Limited (GPP), a 50 percent shareholder of Grenada Electricity Services Ltd (Grenlec), along with GPP’s parent company WRB Enterprises Inc. (WRB), the Grenada government said is not correct that GPP/WRB had "no choice" but to seek arbitration of this matter. The purpose of the arbitration is to enforce the government of Grenada’s contractual obligation to repurchase the 50 percent Grenlec shareholding that the government previously sold to GPP. Read more here



Kabul explosion: Blast kills 80 near diplomatic area in Afghanistan

A huge suicide bomb ripped through a secure area of Kabul at the height of the Wednesday morning rush hour, killing at least 80 people and wounding more than 300, Afghan officials said. The blast, which came a few days into the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, was one of the deadliest to hit the Afghan capital in recent years. The bomb exploded in the diplomatic quarter near the German Embassy and the Afghan presidential palace. The streets were packed with commuters and the blast appears likely to result in a high civilian death toll. Read more here

Manchester attack: Abedi bought most bomb parts 'himself'

Manchester suicide attacker Salman Abedi bought most of the components used to make the bomb himself, police have said. Many of the bomber's movements and actions were "carried out alone" in the four days prior to the attack, Russ Jackson, head of the North West counter terrorism unit, said. But police have yet to rule out whether he was part of a wider network. Three men arrested over the attack were released without charge on Tuesday. Det Ch Supt Jackson said much of the police investigation had been working through Abedi's last movements. Officers have examined his movements on CCTV and other interactions he had with people as well as phone calls he made. Read more here

31st May 2017


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