Daily Brief - Monday 22nd May, 2017

NEWS

Valencia homes spared, for now

The Tobago Division of the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce has sent a letter to the Board of the Port Authority requesting a meeting with the aim of addressing the current challenges on the sea bridge. Chairman of the Chamber Demi John Cruickshank in addressing reporters last week said that the letter was sent off to the board’s chairman Allison Lewis, as he is of the hope that they can sit around the table as was done previously. “We have penned a letter and sent it out requesting an urgent meeting to see if we can solve this problem once and for all. Yes, we went through this fiasco already in the past and what we did is that we sat around the table with everybody and we discussed a way forward, a way how we can solve the problem but this regime is bent on doing things their way and they have seen that doing things their way is not in the best interest for all the people of Tobago. So, we are calling on the chairman to meet with us urgently,” he said. Read more here

Killing us with statistics

An ongoing investigation into the propriety of Children’s Authority director Safiya Noel’s decision to relocate a teenage boy from the authority’s care centre to her home caps off a turbulent two years for the authority. In this special to the Express, Sheila Rampersad continues her look at whether the authority is achieving its mandate. Part I was published yesterday. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Stadium completed under $90 million

Housing Minister Randall Mitchell last Friday told members of the House of Representatives that refurbishment works on the Brian Lara Stadium in Tarouba were completed for less than $90 million. Mitchell made this disclosure as he responded to a matter on the adjournment of the House raised by Princes Town MP Barry Padarath. After assuring Speaker Bridgid Annisette-George that he “will not shout” during his contribution, Mitchell said the Urban Development Corporation of TT (Udecott) had a $90 million budget to complete the works on the stadium. Government MPs thumped their desks as Mitchell said, “I am very happy to report that it was done for less than $90 million.” He said this was a far cry from what happened under his predecessor, Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal when the People’s Partnership (PP) was in office. Read more here

New queries raised in tax appeal case

The Opposition yesterday raised new questions about the possible collusion and Government interference in the Judiciary hours before the Appeal Court convenes to hear an application to overturn an injunction effectively stalling the implementation and collection of the property tax.     A letter sent to the Registrar of the Supreme Court Jade Rodriguez by former attorney general Anand Ramlogan SC, lead attorney for former government minister Devant Maharaj, yesterday detailed the events which unfolded after Friday’s ruling by Justice Frank Seepersad blocking the process. Thousands of home-owners have been flocking to Valuation Division offices across the country for the last two weeks to submit copies of their deeds and other documents to meet the May 22 deadline. Due to the long lines and slow process the deadline was extended to June 5. The court ruling has in effect stopped the process temporarily. Read more here

Meeting with Judiciary ‘in full room’, says Al-Rawi

Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi on Saturday dismissed as “nonsense” and “baseless” questions and concerns by Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar about a meeting he held with the Chief Justice last week. Al-Rawi said he meets “on a constant basis with the members and team in the Judiciary. Minister (of Finance, Colm) Imbert and I, together with the Chief Magistrate, my permanent secretary, the Facilities person at the Judiciary, the Accounts person at the Judiciary and several others certainly met to discuss the autonomy of the Judiciary in open forum.” Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Tobago Chamber wants meeting on sea-bridge

The Tobago Division of the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce has sent a letter to the Board of the Port Authority requesting a meeting with the aim of addressing the current challenges on the sea bridge. Chairman of the Chamber Demi John Cruickshank in addressing reporters last week said that the letter was sent off to the board’s chairman Allison Lewis, as he is of the hope that they can sit around the table as was done previously. “We have penned a letter and sent it out requesting an urgent meeting to see if we can solve this problem once and for all. Yes, we went through this fiasco already in the past and what we did is that we sat around the table with everybody and we discussed a way forward, a way how we can solve the problem but this regime is bent on doing things their way and they have seen that doing things their way is not in the best interest for all the people of Tobago. So, we are calling on the chairman to meet with us urgently,” he said. Read more here

SFC, Massy push ahead

This week, we at Bourse review the latest financial results of Sagicor Financial Corporation Ltd (SFC) and Massy Holdings Ltd (MASSY). SFC’s market price has advanced 16.7 per cent year-to-date, while MASSY has declined marginally by 1.0 per cent. We highlight some key areas of the performances and provide a brief outlook on each stock. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

CARICOM ministers approve integrated work plan for single ICT space

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) ministers with responsibility for information and communication technologies (ICT) on Friday approved the integrated work plan for the Community’s single ICT space. The approval came during discussions at the 68th special meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) on ICT. The virtual meeting was anchored at the CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana. The single ICT space is conceptualised as the digital layer of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), the region’s flagship programme. It encompasses the management of regional information, human resources, legislation and infrastructure in the sector to elicit maximum benefit for the region’s populace. Read more here

Warranty On Roads - Ashley Suggests Measure To Hold Contractors To Guaranteed Standards

Suggesting a system of warranty on road repairs in Jamaica to stem the flow of taxpayers' money down the drain, political commentator Dr Paul Ashley is arguing that contractors should bear the cost of repairing roads that fall into disrepair a short while after they are constructed. Making a link between the financing of political parties and what he described as the best return on investment in the form of road contracts, Ashley called for greater accountability in the inspection of roads. "You cannot look at the problem of corruption being divorced from party financing. People, companies, contractors and professionals invest financially in political parties to get some returns; roadwork offers the greatest returns," Ashley contended. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

North Korea fires second ballistic missile in a week

North Korea conducted its second missile test within a week, sending a medium-range ballistic missile into the waters off its east coast Sunday, according to statements from North Korea and other governments. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un supervised the test fire of the ground-to-ground strategic ballistic missile Pukguksong-2, state news agency KCNA reported. The report was issued Monday local time and does not state when the missile test took place. "The Supreme Leader issued an order to launch the missile at the observation post," KCNA reports. "Together with officials, he analyzed the results of the test launch and expressed his great satisfaction over them, saying it is perfect." Read more here

Turkey opens mass trial of coup suspects near Ankara

Turkey has marched dozens of coup suspects past a hostile crowd at the start of their trial near Ankara. Most of the 221 suspects are high-ranking military officers, accused of trying to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last July. Ex-air force commander Akin Ozturk was the first in a long line of defendants. There were calls for death sentences, though Turkish law does not allow that. In the crackdown, police have arrested two teachers who are on hunger strike. Nuriye Gulmen and Semih Ozakca reported their own arrest during the night in tweets. They are among more than 100,000 public servants sacked after the botched July 2016 military coup. "Political branch police are trying to enter the house, they are breaking the door right now," Ms Gulmen tweeted. Read more here

22nd May 2017

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