Daily Brief - Monday 31st July, 2017

NEWS

No Value in No Man’s Land

Prime seafront land in Tobago has been grossly undervalued, at just $10 per square foot, in its recent transfer from Clico to the Government as part of a plant to help pay off Clico’s $15 billion debt incurred in its 2008 bailout by taxpayers. This was the claim made yesterday by Peter Permell, head of the Clico Policyholders Group. At a news briefing at Valpark Chinese Restaurant, Permell said a truer valuation would reduce Clico’s debt by a larger amount. “If you don’t transfer the land at the right value, you’ll be short-changing Clico,” Permell said. He joked with reporters that if they know anywhere in Trinidad or Tobago selling land at $10 per square foot, to please tell him so he could contact his bankers to arrange a purchase. He contrasted the $174 million valuation of Buccoo Estate as stated by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley at last Thursday’s post-Cabinet media conference, to a $866 million fair market figure, which Permell claimed was stated in a PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) report. Read more here

PoS business owners respect Emancipation

Downtown Owners and Merchants Association (DOMA) president Gregory Aboud yesterday gave the assurance that Port of Spain business owners have the utmost respect for Emancipation Day and all national holidays, as he addressed Emancipation Support Committee chairman Khafra Kambon’s call for some shops to remain closed tomorrow. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Minister to investigate corruption

Local Government Minister Kazim Hosein says he will investigate and stamp out the corruption he knows is present within regional corporations, beginning with an investigation into allegations against an offical who uses a corporation vehicle for his personal use. “The reason why I said it is because I was just on the phone coming in and they told me about a certain official in a corporation who is using the corporation vehicle from Sunday to Sunday and even taking it home,” said Minister Hosein. “So far it is an allegation, but I am going to deal with it on Monday morning and I am going to find out.” Hosein gave a surprise address to those gathered at the Chaguanas Borough Corporation’s hall on Saturday for the launch of the corporation’s Volunteer Network. Hosein, not carded to speak, dropped in unannounced nearing the end of the event and was given a chance to address the gathering. Read more here

Ruling in Jack Warner's judicial review today

Former politician and football official Jack Warner will know later today whether the procedure adopted to have him extradited to the United States to face a series of criminal charges, is legal. Justice James Aboud is expected to deliver the ruling at the Hall of Justice in Port of Spain this afternoon, close to two years after Warner initiated judicial review proceedings against the Office of the Attorney General in an attempt to block his extradition. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Credit card usage soars

Darryl White, managing director of RBC Royal Bank T&T Ltd, says trends are showing that there has been a 10 per cent increase in usage of credit cards for the last year due to shortage of US currency. He was speaking to the media at the cocktail reception to re-launch the RBC/Caribbean Airlines Visa Platinum Rewards credit card last Monday at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Port-of-Spain. The re-launch comes six months after the two companies signed an agreement to renew their 10-year partnership. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

CDB establishes Cultural and Creative Industries Innovation Fund

The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has announced that it will provide the initial capitalisation for a multi-donor fund to improve the competitiveness of the cultural and creative industries sector in its borrowing member countries (BMCs). The bank is making an initial contribution of US$2.6 million to the establishment of the Cultural and Creative Industries Innovation Fund (CIIF) as a pilot intervention, and it will also administer the fund. The CIIF will support the development of the creative industries sector, and encourage innovation, job creation and improved enterprise sustainability by providing grants and technical assistance to governments, business support organisations and academia that support the creative industries sector. It will also provide funding to creative and cultural entrepreneurs and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in CDB’s BMCs. Read more here

It's Angela - Portia, Others Say SW St Andrew's Interest Safe With Brown Burke

The need to protect the "interest" of St Andrew South Western was a common refrain among the key leaders in the People's National Party (PNP) yesterday as outsider Angela Brown Burke was selected as the party's standard-bearer for the constituency. The senator and PNP vice-president gained 595 votes to Audrey Smith Facey's 502, neither getting 50 per cent of the 1,894 who were eligible to cast ballots. There were eight spoilt ballots. Early on, Brown Burke, whose campaign message was 'Portia's Choice - The People's Choice', admitted that winning the contest would have been "extremely difficult" without Simpson Miller's support. "The other candidate is a sitting councillor. She was constituency secretary, and many people don't know me as closely as you would want at this time. But I would not have wanted to do it without her (Simpson Miller's) endorsement," she told The Gleaner. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

On day 193, Donald Trump (tries) to start over

The restart of Donald Trump's presidency begins today, his 193rd day in office. Or so he hopes. Trump is coming off the worst week of his presidency, a disastrous seven days in which theinfighting he stokes broke into public, the Senate's attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act foundered, and Trump himself attacked his own attorney generaldelivered a series of heavily political speeches that made clear his growing frustration with his current position and ousted his chief of staff Reince Priebus. The decision to part ways with Priebus and bring on Department of Homeland Security chief John Kelly as chief of staff, all which Trump announced via Twitter late Friday, was cast by allies of the President as a much-needed reset for a White House that had lost its direction. Read more here

Kabul attack: Gun battle and suicide bombing in Afghan capital

 Afghan security forces battled gunmen following a suicide attack outside the Iraqi embassy in the capital, Kabul. A bomber blew himself up at the gate of the embassy in the central Shar-e-Naw neighbourhood, then three other attackers entered the compound, the Afghan interior ministry said. Although the ministry said the siege had ended, reports of gunfire continued. So-called Islamic State (IS) said it carried out the attack. Kabul has seen a number of deadly assaults this year blamed on either IS or the Taliban. Correspondents say this is the first attack on the city's Iraqi embassy. It comes two weeks after the embassy held a news conference to celebrate the defeat of IS in the Iraqi city of Mosul. Pictures on social media show black plumes of smoke rising into the sky over Kabul. Read more here

 

31st July 2017

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