Daily Brief - Monday 20th March, 2017

NEWS

Beaten schoolgirl among 4 suspended

After being beaten into a state of unconsciousness on the roadside in Mayaro by schoolmates last Tuesday, the 14-year-old female victim was subsequently suspended and made to apologise to her attackers. “My child should not have had to apologise to anyone but she did it anyway. That is not right. She is the victim here. The principal made her apologise to two girls. The two girls also apologised to her and one admitted to hitting her two cuffs. But, what I saw in the video, it was more than two cuffs my daughter got,” said the child’s distraught mother. 
She is the mother of Form Two pupil of the Mayaro Secondary School, who was severely beaten by female schoolmates. The family lives at La Brea Village, Guayaguayare. A video of the incident is circulating on social media and shows a motionless female student being dragged out of a concrete drain and placed on the pavement after she was pummelled by a group of students. The Education Ministry in a media release confirmed that four female students - one in Form One and three others in Form Two - were placed on seven-days suspension by the school’s principal “pending further investigations”. Read more here

Two charged with WPC’s murder

A Sea Lots man and a Carenage woman are expected to appear before a Port-of-Spain magistrate today charged with the murder of WPC Nyasha Joseph. Charges were laid yesterday after homicide officers received instructions from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Joseph, 22, a mother of one, who was attached to the Morvant Police Station, had been a police officer for just four months when she was reported missing after leaving her home in Morvant on March 9. Her body was fished out of the Gulf of Paria near Sea Lots on Wednesday. Read more here

Offer MHTL workers jobs at new gas plant

Proman, the owner of Methanol Holdings Trinidad Limited (MHTL), which is shutting down plants and putting at least 100 workers on the breadline, is also the owner another company, DeNovo Energy Limited which will be sourcing natural gas offshore and building a processing plant right next door to the MHTL plants. MHTL is blaming the ongoing gas shortage for the shutdown. According to Environmental Management Authority (EMA) documents released February 16, DeNovo, a member of the Switzerland-based Proman Group, is seeking permission to build a facility at Point Lisas on the same street as MHTL. The public has up to March 24 to send comments to the EMA. MHTL shut down two plants and had the plant operator, Industrial Plant Services Limited (IPSL), another company in which Proman is the majority shareholder, advise Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste-Primus, by letter dated March 1, that it will be sending home 100 workers effective April 21. That number will increase to at least 130 if more plants close. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Bhoe: Opposition worried Government floundering

Caroni Central Member of Parliament Dr Bhoe Tewarie says the Opposition is very worried and concerned with the way the government is managing the country’s finances. At a press conference at the Office of the Opposition Leader, Charles Street, Portof- Spain, Tewarie said they were also concerned about the government’s failure to take decisions that will lead to stimulation of investment, reversal of recession, restoration of growth and creation of jobs in the economy. Tewarie also expressed concern over Finance Minister Colm Imbert’s announcement that some $1.7 billion in the Heritage and Stabilisation Fund (HSF) will be used to partially fund the country’s $7 billion Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP). “This is in addition to about $11 billion already borrowed during their term so far, a worsening debt to GDP ratio as borrowings increase and the GDP continues to decline... Read more here

Suruj: Shamfa can’t cut it in tourism

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley needs to review leaving the Tourism Ministry in the hands of Shamfa Cudjoe since she cannot do the job, Opposition MP Suruj Rambachan said yesterday. “Government needs to better manage tourism, since we’re only exposing Trinidad and Tobago, not truly marketing it. “It’s a job clearly beyond the current minister and the Prime Minister needs to review keeping it in her hands,”he said during a media briefing at which he and other UNC MPs critiqued Government’s economic management. “After 18 month of office, it’s clear this isn’t a thinking government, but a wait-and-see government,” he said. Read more here

Moonilal: Opposition PNM didn’t support PP ‘hangman’ bill

The People’s Partnership (PP) government brought legislation to the Parliament to fast-track the hangman, which Dr Keith Rowley and the then-opposition did not ­support, says Oropouche East MP Dr ­Roodal Moonilal. “Both Faris Al-Rawi and Dr Rowley said there was no need for legislation and did not support our bill. They further said it was a simple administrative problem that they knew how to solve. Eighteen months later, their solution is to sub-contract out the hard task of doing the work. After all, it must not interfere with Dr Rowley’s ­vacation time,” stated Moonilal in a news release on Saturday. In 2011, the People’s Partnership government proposed the Constitution (Amendment) (Capital Offences) Bill 2011. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

The property tax is a necessity but several issues in its application remain to be clarified, said valuation surveyor, Mark Farrell, of GA Farrell and Associates Ltd at a seminar at the Trinidad Hilton on Thursday held by the Bankers Association and KPMG. He urged that property tax be based not on the rental value as proposed by the Government but on the capital value, the latter which he said is likely to be a more transparent figure for which evidence will exist such as in the form of a title deed. By contrast he said Trinidad has a tradition of secrecy surrounding the level of rents that are actually paid, as he recalled that sometimes even property- owners are reluctant to reveal their rents even to the valuators of their properties. Read more here

TCL ponders treating T&T’s waste

Two months after Mexican cement giant Cemex succeeded in its bid to take over Trinidad Cement Ltd (TCL), managing director Jose Luis Seijo has assured that the company will be dealing aggressively with environmental pollution. TCL, which has long been blamed for extensive air pollution, continues to operate its plant at Claxton Bay where dust barrier trees on the periphery of the plant are caked in grey material. During a tour of the facility last week, Trade Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon enquired whether the company will be addressing health, safety and environmental (HSE) concerns. Read more here

NGL: Dividends stable, share of profits improves

This week, we at Bourse take a closer look at the performance of Trinidad and Tobago NGL Limited (TTNGL) for the year ended December 2016. While exports of Natural Gas Liquids (NGLs) remain low, energy commodity prices have steadily improved throughout the year, which resulted in an improvement of TTNGL’s Share of Profit from PPGPL. We discuss the main factors which affected TTNGL’s performance as well as provide an outlook. Our full review GHL’s 2016 performance is also available on our website at www.bourseinvestment.com. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Bloodbath - Four Gunned Down At Cookshop In Bath, Westmoreland

Residents of Bath in Westmoreland are struggling to come to grips with Saturday night's quadruple murder when members of their community were slaughtered at a popular cookshop and bar by men travelling on two motorcycles. When the shooting, which started approximately 9 p.m., ended, 23-year-old Timothy Bernard, otherwise called 'Tim'; 19-year-old Demario McIntosh; 68-year-old Glendon Nannan; and 54-year-old Carl Banhan, otherwise called 'Calla', were killed on the spot. "Daddy took my little baby girl as him leaving and she did not want to come back to me," said Carl Banhan's daughter, Sherika, as tears streamed down her face. "It is as if she knew it was the last time she would see him alive. He had to force her to come back to me and tell her that him soon come. "All now I cannot believe it. Daddy dead. [I] can never believe say Daddy dead," she said repeatedly. Read more here

St Kitts-Nevis to launch marijuana decriminalization dialogue

St Kitts and Nevis’ prime minister, Dr Timothy Harris, says his government is ready for open dialogue with the relevant stakeholders on the issue of the decriminalization of marijuana. Harris, responding to a question while appearing as a guest on WINN FM 98.9’s Voices programme last week, said the decriminalization of marijuana is a matter for national consultation. “We have a submission going to the Cabinet hopefully next week where we are attempting to set up that broad based committee that would look at all of the issues involved in the use of marijuana and all other matters in relation to it, and that will have representation from the Rastafarian community, from health, from law enforcement, the schools etc., and such other relevant parties of course will have input as the commission, if you will, goes about doing its work and hearing from the people,” Harris stressed. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Article 50: Theresa May to trigger Brexit process next Wednesday

Prime Minister Theresa May is to officially notify the European Union next Wednesday that the UK is leaving. Downing Street said she would write a letter to the EU's 27 other members, adding that it expected negotiations to then begin as quickly as possible. The move comes nine months after people voted 51.9% to 48.1% in a referendum. Talks on the terms of the departure and future relations are not allowed under the Article 50 process until the UK formally tells the EU it is leaving. If all goes according to the two year negotiations set out in the official timetable, Brexit should happen in March 2019. Read more here

Trump's wiretapping accusation comes to a head at Comey hearing

The bizarre saga of President Donald Trump's claims that he was wiretapped by President Barack Obama last year reaches a dramatic climax Monday with FBI Director James Comey's testimony to the House Intelligence Committee. It's a moment of political theater that could end in humiliation for Trump, with Comey expected to say that there was no wiretapping, debunking allegations that Trump has repeatedly refused to withdraw. The hearing could also shed light on the state of FBI investigations into the extent of Russian meddling in the election campaign. Republicans hope Comey will state that there is no evidence of collusion between Trump aides and officials from Moscow, a move that could begin to break up a cloud of Russian intrigue that has stifled the early weeks of the administration. Read more here

20th March 2017

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