Daily Brief - Saturday 23rd May, 2020


Out of order

Head of the Legal Unit of the police Christian Chandler has been accused of overstepping his authority by threatening to discipline errant police officers within his unit. In a branch order issued on May 11, Chandler informed the staff at Tower C, International Waterfront that the intention of the order was to govern the daily operations of the unit. Under the heading “Intention” Chandler writes: “It is also to clearly establish the duties and responsibilities of all employees under the Head Legal Services at Tower C. Failure of any employee to comply with this Branch Order will result in disciplinary action as deemed fit in the appropriate circumstances, by the Head Legal Services.” Read more here

Death threats for mom of drowned Valencia boy

Christine Ramdeen, the mother of Junior Soogrim, who drowned with his younger brother Jason, 7, in a pool at an abandoned quarrying site in Valencia last Sunday, says she is now fearful for her life after she has received two death threats during the week. Speaking to Guardian Media on Friday, Ramdeen said the death threats were made via the phone by a male caller, who was very abusive and used obscene language towards her. She said had not yet made any reports to the police as she was busy making arrangements for her son’s funeral, which takes place on Saturday along with his younger brother. Read more here



Ganja activist confronts Imbert

A video showing Finance Minister Colm Imbert ignoring pro-marijuana activist Nazma Muller has been shared on social media. Muller confronted Imbert as he was entering his car which was parked in front the Red House in Port of Spain. She began asking him questions related to the cultivation of marijuana. “All of our farmers are suffering,” she said. “What is he going to do about it?” She then moved closer to the vehicle and went to the driver’s side to continue, but Imbert simply took out his jacket from the vehicle and walked to the passenger’s side. Read more here

'Taxpayers’ dollars will not be wasted in Tobago'

The Minister of Tourism and the recently-appointed Chief Secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) have affirmed that the disbursements coming from the $50 million pandemic relief grant to hoteliers will not be wasted. In an interview with the Sunday Business Guardian, Tourism Minister Randall Mitchell told of the guidelines and criteria that hoteliers would have to meet to access the grant funding. “They will put in there some serious safeguards to prevent people from buying a car or paying for their children’s tuition. You know we understand those things. We know of those experiences in the decades past,” Mitchell said. The grant will be disbursed to provide employment and room-stock upgrades to the hotels, bed and breakfast resorts and other small properties.  Read more here



Moody’s confirms T&T Ba1 rating, but changes outlook to negative

Global rating agency, Moody’s has confirmed T&T’s Ba1 credit rating in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the outlook for the country is not positive, a release from the Ministry of Finance has stated.  The statement noted that T&T’s rating is “one of the highest in the Caribbean region.” It continued to underscore that in a series of rating decisions that have seen a number of oil and gas exporting countries downgraded all over the world, the rating agency “has simply changed the outlook to negative.” In 2019, Moody’s rated the country at Ba1, stable. Read more here

Half-blank $20 are real

The Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago is confirming that there was a misprint on a few- “less than 100 in number”- of the $20 notes in circulation. "This misprint shows up as one side of the note being blank for the most part," the Central Bank said in a statement on Thursday evening. Read more here



Stakeholders pressure Gov’t to set date for reopening ports

The Andrew Holness administration has come under immense pressure from the powerful and influential Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), which has called for a planned reopening date of the island’s borders for international and local tourism. In a media release Friday evening, the JHTA argued that the Government must give the nation a clear indication of the timeline for the reopening of the country’s borders. The call follows three months of complete lockdown of the sector and the loss of billions of dollars in revenue since the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here

‘Here’s the proof’

The APNU+AFC coalition has submitted a list of persons who have been listed as voted at the March 2, 2020, elections despite being overseas after being invited by the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission to do so. The coalition has also promised to furnish the electoral body with more evidence of same and also of persons who are deceased and listed as voted. This moves comes one day after GECOM’s Chairman, Justice (ret’d) Claudette Singh, had declared that “he who asserts must show proof”. But even before that, the coalition had written her regarding the anomalies. Read more here



France reveals reciprocal quarantine plans for UK arrivals

People arriving in France from the UK will have to self-isolate for 14 days from 8 June, the French government has announced. It comes after Home Secretary Priti Patel revealed quarantine plans for visitors to the UK from the same date. When the issue of quarantine for travellers arriving in the UK first arose earlier this month, there was an indication by the UK government that those arriving from France would be exempt, but no such measures have subsequently been announced. France said it would impose reciprocal measures for any European country enforcing a quarantine. Read more here

An alleged child abuser died before his trial. His accusers are now being blamed

When she heard the news of her abuser's death, Hope said that she felt like her heart had stopped beating for a few seconds. "I didn't know how to respond. I was broken, I shivered. I didn't know whether to believe it or not, to cry or not," she wrote to CNN. Hope is one of the young women and girls who for the past year have been traveling to Ugandan courts ready to testify against German national Bernhard "Bery" Glaser, who is alleged to have sexually abused vulnerable girls like her, who were living in his care. Read more here

23rd May 2020


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