Daily Brief - Friday 31st March, 2017

NEWS

Not One Black Cent

President of the Inter-Religious Organisation (IRO) Bro Harrypersad Maharaj yesterday said the organisation has not received any subvention from the People’s National Movement (PNM) administration since it attained office in 2015. “Since September 7, 2015 the IRO has not received one single black cent from this Government. And this has curtailed a tremendous amount of programmes we used to have,” Maharaj said. He added that in contrast, the previous People’s Partnership (PP) government led by Kamla Persad-Bissessar began giving the IRO a subvention of $62,500 every three months from 2013. Maharaj claimed Finance Minister Colm Imbert told the IRO they would receive more money than they had under the Partnership, but instead, they have received, “zero, zero, zero.” Back in December 2015, Maharaj stated that with the announcement of the country being in recession, he did not expect the receive the quarterly subvention from the PNM nor did he expect any funding from Government for Christian churches that Yuletide season. Read more here

Govt Senator calls on Baptist community: Join me in Enterprise to pray

A Government Senator has called on all members of the Spiritual Shouter Baptist faith to join him in Enterprise at 6 am on Palm Sunday to pray for the crime-riddled community where a temporary police post has recently since been set up in an effort to halt the killings. “We cannot sit and just see these young men slaughter themselves and not offer love and attention,” said Cummings as he called on Baptists, non Baptists, residents of central Trinidad and non residents to say a prayer for the young men. He added: “All Baptist people from all over T&T I invite you to pray with me..I call on each and everyone of you to join with me in Enterprise. We going to sing, we going to shout and call on Jesus.”  Calling on them to dress up in their nice Baptist clothes,  Cummings asked them to come to Enterprise and “shout like never before” and pray for the community. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Why did CT scanners fail?

Health Ministry officials were yesterday unable to give a reasonable explanation for why CT scanners at the Port-of- Spain, San Fernando and Sangre Grande General hospitals were all out of action at the same time. Responding to a question from Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman Dr Bhoendradatt Tewarie about them, Health Ministry Permanent Secretary Richard Madray replied, “I don’t think that there is a reasonable explanation.” Tewarie posed his question to Madray and other ministry officials during a public inquiry at Tower D of the Port-of-Spain International Waterfront Centre. He asked whether this situation could have been the result of system failure, sabotage or poor monitoring. Ministry project manager Ronald Koylass said the problems with the scanners at each of the hospitals could have been the “combination of some of those things.” On Tuesday, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh outlined what was being done to remedy the scanner problems. Read more here

Kamla: We recognise their contributions

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar says the Spiritual Shouter Baptist community is now an integral part of our multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religious society. In a statement extending greeting to the community in celebration of Spiritual Shouter Baptist Liberation Day 2017 she said: “We recognise their significant contributions to national development. Their struggle for freedom of worship has been a long and arduous one, but they endured. When faced with oppression and discrimination they never lost faith or hope.” She said when the Spiritual Baptists were fighting for the freedom to practice their religion, they were confronted by many challenges from the State. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

CWU vs TDC in Industrial Court

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) and Tourism Development Corporation (TDC) will meet at the Industrial Court on May 31, over the corporation’s alleged failure to meet and treat with the union, in good faith, after Government’s decision to dissolve the TDC and replace it with two separate entities. Agreement on the date emerged after a case management hearing on Tuesday between the parties at the court. The union’s secretary general Joseph Remy said that following the hearing, there is an expectation the company would not continue to fire workers. However, the union will file an injunction within the next few days, seeking to prevent the TDC from terminating contracts until conclusion of the substantive matter. Read more here

Industrial Court judge on terminating workers: Follow proper procedure

Industrial Court judge Gregory Rousseau says that most employers lose judgements at the court for failure to follow due protocol and procedure in the termination of employees. Rousseau was delivering remarks at a conference put on by the Employers Solution Centre entitled “Landmark Court Judgement—Compensation for Emotional Distress” held at the Hilton Conference Centre in Port-of-Spain yesterday. “If you examine many of the judgements from the Court over the 50 years of its existence, in very many instances where the court found that the dismissal of a worker was harsh and oppressive and contrary to the principles of good industrial relations, would be in circumstances where there were procedural errors,” Rousseau said as he delivered his presentation titled “Manner of Dismissal: Lessons for employers.” Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Bowing To Pressure? - Government To Review Property Tax Regime A Day Before Implementation

The Government has bowed to public pressure and has signalled that it will be reviewing what the Opposition People's National Party (PNP) has branded the "wicked" revised property tax system that is due to take effect tomorrow. Information Minister Senator Ruel Reid told RJR in an interview yesterday that the Cabinet would be having another look at the system. "We are hearing, listening to the outcry, and as a caring administration and Cabinet, we are going to have a discussion on it. We will be communicating back to the public one way or the other in terms of what reflections we have made." The Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association has argued that property owners in that sector would be worse off from the revised system. It's why the Government, Reid added, wants to see "how we can work with that group to make sure that for those who really are distressed, there are ameliorative measures that could be applied to make the situation far more manageable". Read more here

Caribbean can expect continued US cooperation on security

The region can expect continued cooperation with the United States under the Trump administration in the area of security, says Bridgetown-based US Ambassador Linda Taglialatela. She was responding to questions about the likelihood of US relations with the Caribbean changing because of the policies of President Donald Trump. “I think it’s been very clear that Mr Trump and his administration have been highly supportive of security and because of the security ramifications with the Caribbean and the fact that we consider them our third border, there is always going to be an engagement with the Caribbean. There may be some shifts in some of the programmes that we do here in the Caribbean, but for the most part we will continue to maintain and sustain a relationship with the Caribbean nations,” Taglialatela said. On the issue of climate change and deportation, for example, WINN asked how much room is there for common ground on those and other differences? Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

EU sets out 'phased' Brexit strategy

The EU has outlined its strategy for Brexit negotiations, suggesting talks on a trade deal could begin once "sufficient progress" is made on a separation settlement with the UK. The draft guidelines, issued by European Council President Donald Tusk, argue for a "phased approach" in talks. The draft will be sent to the 27 member states for approval. They will set the tone for two years of negotiations. Britain formally triggered the Brexit process on Wednesday. It had called for simultaneous talks on exit terms and future trade ties. Read more here

Flynn seeks immunity for testimony

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn is willing to testify before federal and congressional investigators in their ongoing probe into Russian meddling in the US elections, but only if he is granted immunity.The possibility that Flynn -- formerly a key adviser to President Donald Trump during the campaign -- could testify potentially represents a major development in the probe into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. Questions have swirled about the nature of Flynn's ties to Russia and whether he violated any restrictions on contacts with foreign officials. He was forced to resign after he misled Vice President Mike Pence about his communications with the Russian ambassador to the US. Read more here

 

31st March 2017

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