Daily Brief - Monday 3rd April, 2017

NEWS

Sex Attack On Boy, 7

Police are searching for a Tobago man who is being accused of buggering a seven-year-old primary school student on Saturday afternoon. The boy told police officers that after the man committed the act in a washroom at a recreation ground in Plymouth, Tobago, he was given a dollar. A medical examination confirmed that the boy had been sexually molested and investigators believe that the act has happened before with the same man who is said to be known to the child. According to reports, the child was at the recreation ground playing with other children when, at about 5.30 pm, he was approached by the man. The child said he was led into the toilet near the recreation ground and assaulted. After the man left, the child reported the incident to a relative who took him to the Scarborough Police Station. He was then examined by a doctor. Read more here

Trini civil rights activist dies in UK

Trinidad-born broadcaster, writer and civil rights activist Darcus Howe, who was living in London for the last three decades, passed away in his sleep last Saturday at age 74. He was a journalist known for his TV series Black on Black, as well as the late-night current affairs programme the Devil’s Advocate. He was the editor of “Race Today” and wrote columns for both the New Statesman and the Voice. His television work included the documentary The Bandung File, which he co-edited with Tariq Ali, and more recently White Tribe, a look at modern Britain. He served as chair of the Notting Hill Carnival. Read more here

Fixin’ T&T: Make report public

Advocacy group Fixin’ T&T is insisting that Minister of National Security Edmund Dillon make public the report on the probe into photographs of children, said to be Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi’s, posing with high-powered weapons at the Defence Force’s Camp Cumuto. The group wrote a letter to the minister on Friday, saying it has “categorically rejected” any inference of no precedent being the basis for the minister’s refusal to make the report public. “What is in fact unprecedented, according to former attorneys general, is firearms training for said office holders, and even more so, their children,” the letter stated. It went on to say that not releasing the report would potentially confirm suggestions of a cover-up in the investigation; “feed the already widespread perception of ‘one law for we and another law for dem’,” as well as “continue the fuelling of criminal activity and lawlessness at every level”. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Patients getting good public health care

Despite all the negative complaints about this country’s public health care system, 99 percent of patients receive an acceptable level of health care, according to Health Minister Terrance Deyalsingh. At the launch of the first TT Neurology Conference held at the Trinidad Hilton Conference Centre yesterday, Deyalsingh said in a population of 1.3 million people, 42 percent of the population is in the public out-patient clinics. This amounts to approximately 45,937 patients per month. He said the satisfaction level far exceeds the level of dissatisfaction. “In our out-patient clinics, 551,000 people pass through our public sector. Even if you have a hundred complaints a month, that is .21 percent,” Deyalsingh said. Read more here

Crooked cops a real problem

As the murder rate continues to spiral despite Government’s efforts to clamp down on the criminal elements, corrupt cops are hindering the fight against crime. So said Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi yesterday, amid claims of police officers allegedly being involved in nefarious activities, including running drug blocks and collecting protection tax, in the Enterprise, Chaguanas community. The issue was raised by Unruly Isis member Abdul “Krysis” Wakeel when National Security Minister Edmund Dillon and members of the Police Service top brass visited Enterprise last Friday, as gang war continued to plague the community. (See editorial on page A15). Read more here

TTUTA, NPTA question claims on school violence

Is school violence really on the ­decline? Minister of Education Anthony Garcia has assured it is, despite several alleged instances of bullying and school fights making the news in recent weeks. But president of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers’ Association (TTUTA) Lynsley Doodhai and National Parent-Teacher Association (NPTA) president Zena Ramatali are not so sure about that. There have been two recent instances of primary school pupils suffering serious injuries due to alleged bullying. These were described by the minister as injuries sustained through play fighting. At another primary school, parents protested and blocked the street with burning debris, alleging violent behaviour of an 11-year-old. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Cabinet’s drawdown of US$251 million from HSF

The credit rating agency, Moody’s, has described last month’s decision by Cabinet to drawdown US$251 million from T&T’s Heritage and Stabilisation Fund (HSF) to finance part of the capital expenditure in the 2017 budget as “credit negative because it reflects a deteriorating fiscal position driven by large fiscal deficits amid lower energy-related government revenues.” In a March 23 note from its twice-weekly Credit Outlook. Moody’s said of the drawdown decision: “By reducing the size of its HSF, the sovereign is also eroding an important fiscal buffer. The HSF currently totals $5.7 billion, roughly 24 per cent of GDP, and is composed of financial assets derived from oil and gas revenues accumulated during boom years.” In a statement on March 17, the day after the Cabinet took the decision to drawdown US$251 million from the HSF, Finance Minister Colm Imbert was at pains to point out that the March 2017 drawdown returned the HSF to where it was in May 2016, when the government withdrew US$375 million from the fund. Read more here

 AHL stumbles, UCL lower

This week, we at Bourse review the 2016 performances of Angostura Holdings Limited (AHL) and Unilever Caribbean Limited (UCL), two companies within the Manufacturing I Sector. AHL would have confronted weaker revenues, while UCL’s earnings were impacted by taxation. We highlight some key areas of the performances and discuss possible implications for investors. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Dominica PM says he may be 65 before leaving office

In contrast to the Beatles plaintive question, Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit seems convinced that his country will still need him until he is 65 – another 20 years. The opposition United Workers Party (UWP) has called for Skerrit and his administration to step down, stating that he is mismanaging the country and is involved in corrupt practices. However, at a town hall meeting last week, Skerrit stated that he may be in office longer than some may think. Read more here

Calls For Help - Tufton Wants New Approach To Treating The Mentally Ill

The weekend's deadly rampage in St James, set in motion by a machete-wielding man believed to be of unsound mind, has triggered a call for a new approach to identifying, treating and supervising persons who are mentally ill. The St James police report that 60-year-old Lascelles Bracket used the machete to chop three elderly men inside a shop in the community of Norwood after his demand for them to be served a second time was rebuffed. Bracket, the police say, then went to the nearby home of 62-year-old maintenance worker, Herman Pryce, and chopped him to death before he was set upon and beaten to death by angry residents. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Trump ready to 'solve' North Korea problem without China

US President Donald Trump has said the United States will "solve" the nuclear threat from North Korea, with or without China's help. "If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will. That is all I am telling you," he said in an interview with UK newspaper the Financial Times. Pressed on whether he thought he could succeed alone, he replied: "Totally." Mr Trump was speaking ahead of a scheduled visit from Chinese President Xi Jinping this week. "China has great influence over North Korea. And China will either decide to help us with North Korea, or they won't. And if they do that will be very good for China, and if they don't it won't be good for anyone," Mr Trump told the FT. Asked if he meant "one-on-one" unilateral action, Mr Trump said: "I don't have to say any more." Read more here

Seven reasons we're at more risk than ever of a global pandemic

It could take just one cough, one kiss, one touch or even one bite to change not only your life, but the lives of everyone around you -- and for months or even years. In most cases, the closer those people are to you, the greater the risk. But it isn't always that simple. The risk at hand: an infectious outbreak. Public health experts believe we are at greater risk than ever of experiencing large-scale outbreaks and global pandemics like those we've seen before: SARS, swine flu, Ebola and Zika. Read more here

3rd April 2017

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