Daily Brief - Friday 24th March, 2017

NEWS

Bag Over Head

Semi-nude with a black plastic bag over her head, lying face-down in some bushes. That was how relatives found 23-year-old Chaguanas mother, Sharlene Somai yesterday - two days after a relative reported her missing. In less than an hour after the discovery, police detained a 35-yearold close male relative who, up to last night, remained in custody. Relatives said he is originally from Sangre Grande and assisted in the search for Somai. Police reports state that shortly after 1pm yesterday, officers went to an access road off Petersfield Main Road, Chaguanas and found the body in some bushes in a parcel of land belonging to the now defunct Caroni (1975) Limited. Read more here

Pregnant woman killed in crash

A pregnant woman was killed in a head-on collision in Cunupia on Wednesday night, while three others remained warded in critical condition at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mount Hope, yesterday. Police believe drag racing caused the accident that left Rochelle St Louise, 22, dead. Investigators said the drivers who were racing with each other sped off from the scene of the crash. Police are now seeking assistance from fellow motorists or residents in the area who can assist by divulging any vital information that would help with their investigations. According to a police report, the incident happened around 7 pm at Soogrim Road, off Endeavour Road, Chaguanas. Read more here

Businesswoman found stabbed to death

A 65-year-old businesswoman was found stabbed to death at her home yesterday. Petra Manwaring was discovered dead on the kitchen floor of her home on the Southern Main Road, Lagoon Village, La Romaine. Police said she had been stabbed to death. A brother and sister are helping the police with investigations. The body was found around 10 a.m. by one of her sisters who could not reach her on her phone, police said. Relatives did not speak to the media as they sat at a neighbour's house looking on at crime scene investigators and homicide detectives. The Manwaring family owns an industrial and construction contracting company which does work with Petrotrin. Maurice White, a driver employed with the Manwaring family, said he went to the house around 8 a.m. to take her out. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Wade: No audit of police guns

The guns and bullets of the TT Police Service (TTPS) have not been audited due to a lack of audit staff who are also precepted, that is licenced to handle firearms, alleged Opposition Senator Wade Mark, at yesterday’s quizzing of several accounting officers of the State by Parliament’s Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) at Tower D, Port-of-Spain. He made the assertion based on findings from the PAAC’s previous interview of the TTPS, and then sought more details from Ministry of Finance deputy permanent secretary, Savitri Seepersad. He asked if she knew of any talks between her ministry and Acting Commissioner of Police, Stephen Williams, regarding initiatives to audit the TTPS’s arms and ammunition? Seepersad replied that she did not know of any such talks. Earlier Comptroller of Accounts, Catherine Laban, supported Mark’s suggestion for a new body to be set up to oversee the internal audit of different Government Ministries. Read more here

Imbert: Property tax notices out in two weeks

Notice of assessment of properties for collection of the Property Tax will be posted or hand-delivered to owners and occupiers within the next week or two. Finance Minister Colm Imbert announced this at yesterday’s post-Cabinet media briefing. The issuing of notice of assessments will be the first step towards collection of the property tax which was announced in the Government’s first (2016) Budget. It was not collected that year, but was re-stated in the 2017 budget for collection starting this year. The tax will be based on three percent of the annual rental value of a property, Government had said. Read more here

Imbert: Fund drawdown was to protect T&T economy

Drawing down from the Heritage and Stabilisation Fund was necessary to ensure the economy does not collapse. Finance Minister Colm Imbert yesterday justified the withdrawal of US$251 million from the fund at the post-Cabinet news conference at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann's. He said in previous years when Government was running on a deficit, money deposited into the fund was borrowed, which made no sense. He said the technocrats warned the previous government about this but they did not want to touch it as they viewed the fund as a “sacred cow”. He said Government will move to separate the fund into two components, one for saving and the other for utilisation and the “new rules” of the fund will be based on reality. Read more here

  

BUSINESS

ANSA McAL rolls out $1B profits despite downturn

Despite the current economic challenges facing the country, the ANSAMcAL Group of companies says it continues to invest, according to Group Chairman, A. Norman Sabga. He made the statement yesterday after announcing that the Group recorded $1.1 billion in profit before tax in 2016 for the fourth consecutive year and that its net assets grew by $605 million, an increase of 8.7 percent. Taxation was $304,177,000, yielding profit after tax of $803,108,000. Sabga made the announcement as he met with stockbrokers to present the Group’s results for the 2016 year end at the ANSAMcAl flagship TATIL Building on Maraval Road, Port-of-Spain. He said the profit would have been higher if not for a few items which affected Group companies. Read more here

Guardian Media profit falls to $16m

The year 2016 was both challenging and exciting, Guardian Media Ltd (GML) chairman Teresa White has said following the company's release of its financial results. “We faced a weak media market and this constrained our revenues, which dropped from $209.8 million in 2015 to $164.3 million in 2016. This, in turn, caused our profit before tax (PBT) to decline by $32.6 million to $16.3 million,” she said in her chairman's statement on GML's 2016 results dated March 17. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Beef Still Banned - No Lifting Of Restrictions On Corned Meat Until Completely Satisfied, Says Samuda

Agriculture Minister Karl Samuda is adamant that the ban on the importation and sale of corned beef products from Brazil will remain in place in spite of assurances from that country's embassy that none of the 21 meat-processing Brazilian companies under probe has export arrangements with Jamaican firms. This comes after the Brazilian government asked Jamaica to lift the ban, which was put in place after a report emerged suggesting that rotten beef and poultry were being used in the manufacturing of the popular food product. Samuda said that no permission would be given for the sale or distribution of corned beef from Brazil until the Government is sufficiently satisfied that the products are safe for consumption. "The Government has begun the verification process in keeping with established guidelines to ascertain that the products are free from contamination," the minister said. Read more here

Former Turks and Caicos premier's brother denies being on trial on corruption charges

- In a somewhat bizarre email to Caribbean News Now on Wednesday, Chalmers ‘Chal’ Misick, the brother of disgraced former Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) premier, Michael Misick, claimed that a reference to him as “being tried for corruption, misconduct, fraud, along with ten other counts” is “patently false, frivolous, misleading, libel and slanderous”. He called for “an immediate and complete redaction removing all reference to Chal Misick and Chalmers Management from your article ‘Investors lose millions in failed Turks and Caicos development’ published 22nd March 2017”. Disregarding for the moment that slander is oral defamation, not written, Misick’s denial of the well known fact that he is currently on trial in the TCI, along with eight other defendants including his brother Michael Misick, for numerous corruption-related offences is startling to say the least. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

London attack inquiry focuses on radicalization of perpetrator

Police investigating the deadly terrorist attack in central London are focusing closely on how the perpetrator became radicalized, as they battle to piece together his identity and connections. Britain's most senior counter-terror police officer, Mark Rowley, described the inquiry as "very large and fast-paced", and announced two "significant arrests" Friday. Hundreds of officers had made contact with thousands of witnesses, he said. Police have said that the attacker, 52-year-old British man Khalid Masood, had multiple aliases. Rowley said he was born Adrian Russell Ajao. Read more here

US healthcare bill: Trump issues Friday vote ultimatum

US President Donald Trump has demanded a make-or-break vote in the House of Representatives on Friday on his troubled healthcare bill. The American Health Care Act is meant to replace parts of President Barack Obama's signature "Obamacare" law. A vote on Thursday was delayed because of opposition from some Republicans. Mr Trump reportedly warned fellow Republicans that they had a choice between voting for his bill on Friday or being stuck with Obamacare for good. The president made the warning during a closed-door meeting at the White House, US media reported. Read more here

24th March 2017

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