Daily Brief - Wednesday 31st May, 2023


Ex-SORT head cleared to challenge National Security Ministry

A high court judge has granted leave to the wife of the former head of the Special Operations Response Team (SORT), Mark Hernandez, to challenge the failure of the Ministry of National Security to provide information on the setting-up of a committee to audit the police's firearms registry. In a ruling made in chambers without a hearing, Justice Devindra Rampersad granted leave to Anna-Marie Metivier-Hernandez, who, along with the ex-SORT boss, filed the application for judicial review on May 5. The two are challenging the legality of the committee appointed to audit the police’s firearms registry and the involvement of a senior officer. Read more here

Justice Seepersad fears current path T&T is on ‘Paradise is in peril’

Justice Frank Seepersad says he feels Trinidad and Tobago is currently hanging close to peril. However, he also feels it is not too late to pull it back but to do so, both citizens and those in authority need to make urgent changes to some governance structures. “Our ancestors’ paradise is in peril. Crime is out of control, many are struggling to meet their basic daily requirements and there exists an unacceptable degree of divisiveness, dishonesty and disingenuous discourse,” Justice Seepersad said yesterday. “Far too often, issues and solutions are no longer addressed or formulated in a rational, logical or methodological manner. Instead, they are fashioned by considerations of class, ethnicity, lineage and affiliation. Our indentured forefathers overcame significant challenges, discrimination and prejudices but they persevered and in one generation, excelled.” Read more here



Damian Lyder: Property tax will make it too hard to do business

Opposition Senator Damian Lyder said the implementation of property tax will increase the cost of business. He accused the government of making it harder for people to do business by increasing taxes. Speaking at the UNC's Monday Night meeting at the party's headquarters at 31 Mulchan Seuchan Road, Chaguanas, Lyder said, “Instead of making it easier, the Government is increasing the burden of more costs and more taxes. "It is hard to see when you have a government that does not deliver on the goods and services to the people and citizens of TT. When we see the level of flooding and the decay in infrastructure in this country, a runaway crime problem, we ask how the government has the belly to implement property tax now.” Read more here

Tancoo bashes those who have quit UNC

UNC chairman Dave Tancoo has trashed the movement of some former members now supporting the PNM, saying karma will deal with them. And PNM chairman Stuart Young has rubbished UNC claims that some “PNM operatives” are supplying the UNC with information and clandestine support. All of this after certain UNC officials resigned from the party and joined the PNM—and as election high gear continues with the start of the UNC’s screening of its Local Government election nominees tomorrow (Thurs) and the close of PNM nominations on Friday. The latest to “cross” from UNC to PNM were former UNC Arima Central councillor Sheldon Garcia and ex-UNC Youth Arm officer Kaveesh Siewdial. Warrenville councillor Samuel Sankar, who also resigned from UNC, remains mum on his direction. Garcia has offered himself as a PNM nominee for Arima Central for LG election. Read more here



T&T, Chile resume partial-scope talks

Trinidad and Tobago and Chile yesterday commenced the fourth round of negotiations for a Partial Scope Trade Agreement between the two countries. The fourth round will be held over a period of three consecutive days in Santiago, Chile and will build upon the success of the previous negotiating rounds held in 2021 and 2022. Negotiations will continue on issues such as: market access; legal and institutional issues; sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS); rules of origin and origin procedures; trade facilitation; technical barriers to trade (TBT); trade remedies and competition policy. Among the benefits anticipated to emerge from the conclusion of the agreement are: lower import duties for locally produced goods entering the Chilean market, and elimination of known non-tariff barriers. Read more here

Freight rates may increase again

Stakeholders in Trinidad and Tobago are keeping a close eye on the severe drought around the Panama Canal which is forcing container vessels to lighten their loads and can lead to freight rates increasing once again. The marine insight website last week said that the canal which connects the Pacific and Atlantic oceans has been struggling with water supply shortages since before a 2016 expansion that permitted much larger vessels to sail through. It has a protocol comprising weight restrictions and transit fees that kick in as the drought conditions deteriorate. Read more here



Mahdia tragedy…

SHERANA Daniels, a 14-year-old girl who sustained severe injuries in the fire that ravaged the female dormitory of the Mahdia Secondary School, passed away on Tuesday morning at the Georgetown Public Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Despite valiant efforts by doctors to save her life, Daniels succumbed shortly before 10:00 hrs to the effects of carbon monoxide inhalation, in spite of having been resuscitated twice. With the teen’s heartbreaking demise, the toll from the devastating blaze now stands at 19 young girls and a five-year-old boy. According to a release from the Ministry of Health, she was the victim who was air-dashed to Georgetown on the morning of May 22. Read more here



Ukraine war: The mothers going to get their children back from Russia

When 15-year-old Sasha Kraynyuk studied the photograph handed to him by Ukrainian investigators, he recognised the boy dressed in Russian military uniform immediately. The teenager sitting at a school desk has the Z-mark of Russia's war emblazoned on his right sleeve, coloured in the red, white and blue of the Russian flag. But the boy's name is Artem, and he's Ukrainian. Sasha and Artem were among 13 children taken from their own school in Kupyansk, north-eastern Ukraine last September by armed Russian soldiers in balaclavas. Ushered onto a bus with shouts of "Quickly!", they then disappeared for weeks without trace. Read more here

31st May 2023


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