Daily Brief - Thursday 18th May, 2017

NEWS

Woman’s throat slit

Housewife Savitri Mohammed, 54, was found gagged, hands tied, her feet tied and her throat slit from end to end yesterday inside her Bonne Aventure, Gasparillo home. She was home alone at the time. The shocking discovery was made at midday by Mohammed’s husband, self-employed businessman Sadiq Mohammed, 40, when he returned home from a visit to the bank. On seeing his wife almost decapitated, Mohammed is said to have collapsed and had to be rushed to the Gasparillo Health Centre for treatment. Mohammed later told police he left home at 10 am to go to the bank. Robbery has been ruled out as investigators reported nothing was stolen and the house was not ransacked. Weeping relatives gathered outside the scene while police were in the bedroom where Mohammed’s body was found on a bed. The couple, married for 14 years, had no children. Read more here

Court stops Air Traffic Controllers from ‘falling ill’

Defiant PSA president Watson Duke says no court order can prevent Air Traffic Controllers for falling ill in the future. Duke said that during yesterday’s news conference at the union’s Abercromby Street office following a meeting with the workers. Labour Minister, Jennifer Baptiste-Primus, obtained a court injunction against 62 workers which effectively prevents them from embarking on “sick-out” action. Duke said Baptiste-Primus “must be prepared for a long, hot summer. Be prepared because the rights of these Air Traffic Controllers will not be subverted by any court injunction.” Read more here

Daly, Dumas call for report into Quinlan charges

Release the 2013 report of the disciplinary tribunal set up to examine disciplinary charges against recently appointed High Court Judge Avason Quinlan-Willi­ams. This is the call from Senior Counsel Martin Daly and former head of the Public Service Reginald Dumas to the Judicial and Legal Service Commission (JLSC). In a joint statement yesterday, Daly and Dumas also requested the release of any written reasons or reports rela­ted to determination of this matter. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Ramlogan: A knee jerk reaction

Former attorney general Anand Ramlogan says yesterday’s swearing-in of Ernest Koylass SC as the fifth member of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission (JLSC) was “a knee jerk reaction” by President Anthony Carmona to a pre-action protocol letter he (Carmona) received last week from him. “I am very pleased that Carmona has seen the wisdom and merit in the pre-action protocol letter I sent to his office last week. (This) does not in any way address the fundamental systemic issues that plague the administration of justice,” Ramlogan SC said. Read more here

Imbert gives 2-week bligh

Members of the public can ease up on the rush—Government is moving to extend the date for submission of Property Tax Valuation forms from Monday May 22 to June 5. Finance Minister Colm Imbert announced yesterday he’ll recommend to today’s Cabinet meeting that the deadline for submitting forms be extended by two weeks from Monday. In a statement, Imbert said the move is being made due to the overwhelming response by property owners over the last few days to submit their Valuation Return Forms. He said an announcement on the extension will be made shortly after today’s Cabinet meeting. Read more here

No dialogue with Govt, says DOMA

The Downtown Owners and Merchants Association (DOMA) has welcomed an extension of the submission deadline for property tax, but was concerned yesterday about a “communication problem” between Government and the business community. A number of business organisations have been calling for the May 22 tax deadline to be extended, saying it was unrealistic. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Nobody buying Republic Bank

London-based HSBC Bank is not buying any shares in Republic Bank, Finance Minister Colm Imbert made clear in a statement before the Senate passed the Finance Bill 2017 around 2.43 am on Tuesday. Imbert said an allegation by Opposition Senator Wayne Sturge, that HSBC was going to purchase 20 percent of Republic Bank, “is preposterous, wrong and false.” He told senators, “One must understand the shareholding of Republic Bank.” Imbert said 25 percent of the bank’s shares are held by the Clico Trust Corporation, “which is the collateral for the Clico Investment Fund (CIF), which trades on the Stock Exchange.” These are, “the units given to policyholders who sold their policies for years 11 to 20.” Read more here

Cybersecurity expert: WannaCry reaches T&T

One of T&T’s top Internet experts has expressed concern that there may not be enough formal tracking of cybersecurity exploits in T&T, in the wake of last week’s WannaCry ransomware attack, which began on May 12 and quickly went global. As far as I know we do not presently collect such statistics for local sites. We do have a CSIRT (Computer Security Incident Response Team) and they may be collecting such data,” said Patrick Hosein, who has managed the .tt domain for T&T for more than 25 years. “Several years ago (long before the CSIRT was formed) I had suggested to the UWI that we should form a CERT (Computer Emergency Readiness Team) to assist the local community but I was not taken seriously,” said Hosein. Read more here

Sinanan ‘unaware’ of sea vessel damage

Works and Transport minister Rohan Sinanan said yesterday he was unaware of any report detailing damage to a cargo vessel called MV La Caracola, a possible replacement for the MV Transporter. The Express has been in receipt of what appears to be an excerpt on a report on the state of the ­Caracola—which translates to “sea snail” in English—which stated damage has been discovered in the cargo hold bilge of the vessel. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

No River Dwellings - PM Insists Informal Settlements Won't Continue After Seeing Devastation From Heavy Rains

Prime Minister Andrew Holness is adamant that informal settlements will not be allowed to continue across the island as they presented too great an issue in times of natural disasters. Yesterday, Holness and a team - including Minister of Labour and Social Security Shahine Robinson and representatives from a number of government agencies - toured several communities across Jamaica that were most affected by heavy rains, which have been pelting the island since last Saturday. The worse off communities were mainly located very close to rivers that overflowed and flooded nearby homes. Read more here

Bahamas Cabinet ministers sworn in

Fourteen men and one woman took the oath of office on Monday during a ceremony at Government House in The Bahamas, bringing an end to speculation over who would make up the new Cabinet. During the ceremony that took just over an hour, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said he would not hold a substantive portfolio. “I made this decision in order to perform my primary constitutional duty as prime minister,” he said. “This primary constitutional duty is the coordination and oversight of the Cabinet of The Bahamas. As I have repeatedly noted, my government will be one of collegiality, collective responsibility and collaboration. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Princess Mako to lose Japan royal status by marrying commoner

A member of Japan's royal family, Princess Mako, is to surrender her royal status by marrying a commoner. The 25-year-old eldest granddaughter of Emperor Akihito will become engaged to law firm worker Kei Komuro, also 25, whom she met while studying together. Japan's imperial law requires a princess to leave the royal family after marrying a commoner. The move is expected to reignite debate on royal succession, with the emperor also possibly abdicating soon. Read more here

Now it's up to the special counsel

A bad day for the White House could turn out to be a good day for justice and democratic accountability and institutions. Robert Mueller's appointment Wednesday as special counsel to probe Russian election meddling and any collusion by Trump campaign aides elevates the investigation clear of partisanship and the threat of White House interference. It therefore may offer the best chance for a politically bulletproof accounting of the guilt or innocence of members of the President's inner circle. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's decision to opt for a special counsel is also an antidote to fears that the US political system still has the capacity to investigate itself and its most powerful players. Read more here

18th May 2017

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