Daily Brief - Monday 6th March, 2017

NEWS

Women Not Property

Women are not property, to be used and abused, on the whim and fancy of men. This was the warning given by Chief Magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar yesterday at a service at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Port-of-Spain held to commemorate International Women’s Day. “Our brothers have to understand we are not property and I think that’s the thinking, even in 2017, from a lot of men. Women are not property and if you’re in a relationship and that relationship for whatever reason is not going the way you would like it to be, then we need to be mature and step away from that relationship,” she said. Ayers-Caesar was responding to questions from reporters on recent acts of violence against women after she addressed the service. “We need to come together as adults to do what is best in the interest of our children, because at the end of the day it makes no sense, a mother or father who cannot get along and then one kills the other and inevitably commits suicide. Read more here

Killers getting younger now

Society, including the media, has become immune to crime and violence at times, so much so that murders are no longer on the front pages of newspapers. So said Chief Magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar yesterday, as she expressed concern about the spiralling crime rate. She was speaking to members of the media after addressing the congregation at an International Women’s Week service at the Holy Trinity Cathedral, Port-of-Spain. International Women’s Day will be recognised tomorrow under the theme “Be Bold For Change.” Read more here

Prof Sankat to head University of Belize

Clement Sankat, former pro vice-chancellor and campus principal of The University of the West Indies at St Augustine has landed a job as the new President of the University of Belize. According to a report from Belize News 5 online dated February 17, headlined “UB taps Guyanese-Trinidadian engineer for president”, “The University of Belize has a new president. He is Prof Clement Sankat, former pro vice-chancellor and campus principal of The University of the West Indies, Saint Augustine Campus in Trinidad and Tobago,” stated the report. The report stated that Sankat succeeds Alan Slusher who held the post since June of 2014 and was announced by chair of the Board of Trustees, Harrison Pilgrim, during the university’s graduation ceremonies on February 11.  The report quoted a statement from Sankat calling for an extension of educational services at the national university.  He (Sankat) says, “the role of the University must be, as a first priority, to provide much larger numbers of Belizean students from across the country an opportunity for a quality tertiary education, thereby nurturing future leaders for various professions as well as developing thinkers and providing a launch pad for creative and talented entrepreneurs.” Read more here

 

POLITICS

MP: Female crime victims need empathy, counselling

Given the many incidents of assault on women and in particular young girls recently, Oropouche West MP Vidya Gayadeen-Gopeesingh wants Government to channel more resources into programmes to help heal their emotional and psychological effects. Since the beginning of this year, she said yesterday, quite an alarming number of young women comprise the statistic of 91 murders thus far. Rape and sexual assault on girls, particularly those under age 15, have been recorded. She said the manner in which some female victims have been murdered, such as in having their throats slit and stomachs disembowelled, wreaks the society’s psyche. Gayadeen-Gopeesingh, an attorney, pointed out that when the bulk of the country’s resources in the form of budgetary allocations, is devoted to national security, “then we as a society has fundamental problems and we have to deal with it or we will soon become an animal society”. Some B10.5 billion has been allocated to National Security for the current period. Yet still the murders and mayhem is worsening. Read more here

Young confirms Govt hired GroupDC as lobbyist

Minister in the Office of the Attorney General Stuart Young yesterday confirmed that the Government of T&T did hire Group DC as its lobbyist firm in Washington DC. In a text message response to questions from the Sunday Guardian, Young said the firm ensured the Government of T&T had “a voice in DC” participating in the numerous conversations that can affect T&T in the areas of trade, finance, energy, security and other relationships. He said the Government would continue to work for T&T in maintaining and building the country’s relationships with the United States and other countries to promote business interests on behalf of the citizens of T&T. Read more here

Roodal Takes on Rowley

Opposition MP Dr Roodal Moonilal said he is considering taking Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley before Parliament’s Privi­leges Committee, as documents from the United States Department of Justice have shown this Government awarded a $16 million ­contract to a Washington lobbying firm. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

IDB to help entrepreneurs

Local entrepreneurs can look forward to a boost when the Inter American Development Bank (IDB) this year sets up a local office for its enterprise arm, the Investment Corporation Office (IIC). The Ministry of Planning and Development, in a statement yesterday said that Minister Camille Robinson-Regis who is an IDB governor had successfully lobbied the IDB to set up its first Caribbean office in TT. IDB President Luis Moreno gave this commitment, even as Jamaica has also bid for an IDB office on its soil. While a member of the IDB Group, the IIC is legally independent from the IDB Group, having its own management and resources. The IIC has an exclusive focus on providing direct and indirect financing to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). It provides financing and technical assistance so SMEs can grow and drive development in the region and expand themselves geographically in key sectors. Read more here

FCB mum on US$25m loan to downgraded Barbados

Majority state-owned banking group First Citizens is refusing to disclose the terms of a loan it made to the Government of Barbados, which was first disclosed by that country’s embattled minister of finance, just days before the Caribbean country was downgraded to CCC+ from B- by the S&P rating agency. In a statement to the Guardian on Saturday, First Citizens said: “As you may appreciate, First Citizens treats all client information as private and confidential and therefore we cannot comment on the details of any transaction with our clients. With respect to the Group’s country exposure to Barbados, we have two entities operating in Barbados: First Citizens Bank Barbados Limited and First Citizens Investment Services Barbados Limited. The operations of these subsidiaries constitute the majority of our exposure in that jurisdiction.” Read more here

TCL impacted by lower revenue, one-offs

This week, we review the 2016 performance of Trinidad Cement Limited (TCL) and GraceKennedy Limited (GKC). TCL was hit with one-off costs and lower revenues which negatively impacted earnings, while GKC reaped the benefits of growth in all of its segments. Today, we review the performance of TCL. Our full review of GKC’s performance is available on our website at www.bourseinvestment.com Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Elections in Netherlands and France may affect Suriname

Political changes in the United States, a country that still hasn’t come to terms with its history of slavery and institutionalized segregation, like apartheid South Africa, is influencing populist movements that may soon take hold on the other side of the Atlantic, in the Netherlands and France, where national elections are fast approaching.  The effects of these elections on Suriname, a former Dutch colony, and which also borders French Guiana, may have serious consequences for Suriname and raises questions about the Suriname government’s preparedness for the ramifications. Read more here

St Lucia and Bahamas to host ILO-Brazil mission

The International Labour Organization (ILO) in collaboration with the government of Brazil, will be undertaking a south-south cooperation mission to Saint Lucia (6th-7th March 2017) and The Bahamas (9th-10th March 2017). This is the first of several planned missions within the framework of a regional capacity-building project for the Caribbean countries that are members of the ILO’s regional initiative Latin America and the Caribbean free of child labour. The project, which focuses on apprenticeships (school-to-work transition) as a response to child labour issues, commenced in July 2016 with the launch of rapid assessments of child labour in The Bahamas, Guyana, Saint Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Russia mystery threatens to consume Washington

The mystery over Donald Trump and Russia is taking a corrosive hold on his presidency, sowing accusations and hysteria that threaten to overwhelm his White House and drain his personal credibility. Washington has become a hall of mirrors, where it's impossible to distinguish between rumor and fact as conspiracy theories and partisan paroxysms rage -- all arising from an alleged Russian spy plot to sway last year's election that is now clouding the new administration. Read more here

Trump wiretap: FBI chief Comey 'rejects' allegation

FBI director James Comey has rejected Donald Trump's claim that his predecessor, Barack Obama, ordered a wiretap of his phone before he was elected US president, US media say. Mr Comey reportedly asked the US justice department (DOJ) to publicly reject Saturday's allegation, according to the New York Times and NBC. Read more here

6th March 2017

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