Daily Brief - Thursday 2nd February, 2017

NEWS

Nadia In Grave

Nadia Simms left home last week Saturday to attend a job interview hoping for the best. What she got instead was death. A country-wide search by police, soldiers, cadaver dogs, relatives and hunters ended yesterday when the 25-year-old woman’s decomposing body was found in a shallow grave in some bushes in Santa Flora. According to a police report at about 11 am, four men who were hunting for iguanas in the forests 156 metres off St Clyne Road in Santa Flora came across the shallow grave with sections of Simms’ body protruding from the loose earth. A report was made to the police and a team of officers including detectives from the Homicide Investigations Bureau visited the scene along with the district medical officer (DMO). Read more here

Pastor at funeral of mom, sons killed in crash: ‘Only God can save T&T’

A pastor yesterday called on the country’s leaders to repent, pray and organise a national day of fast to rid the evil, escalating murders and crime stalking our land. Pastor Vernon Duncan urged the Opposition and Government to heed his advice since they were void of answers to T&T’s crime problems, insisting that something was radically wrong in T&T. He said there were too many dark forces pervading the land with crime, wrong-doing, killings and murders, which “political power can’t deal with that.” He made the call while delivering the sermon at the funeral service of Carla Collins, 35, and her two sons — eight-month-old Kamari and Amani, 30-month-old. Read more here

Driver to appear in court today

Kelvin Lewis, the driver of the car that slammed into a family of four, killing a mother and her two sons, is expected to appear before an Arima magistrate today. The 28-year-old man, of Fairview Drive, D’Abadie, first appeared before a Justice of the Peace in the Arima Magistrates’ Court on Monday and was supposed to re-appear yesterday, police said. The Express visited the court, only to be told he had not been brought to court and instead he would appear today. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Central Bank gov asked to disclose plan for Clico

What is the State’s plan for Clico? This is the question being asked by David Walker and Afra Raymond of the group, Disclosure Today, in a letter to Central Bank Governor, Dr Alvin Hilaire, yesterday . They queried the direction of the “rescue” of CLICO after eight years under the Central Bank and Government, including the Bank’s apparent “regulatory forbearance” . They also mulled the legality of this control (plus any fallout from such), the inordinate delay in returning billions of dollars to the taxpayer (and the impact of this on economic decision making), and the nature of recent ministerial statements seemingly at odds with the stated goals of the rescue under the Central Bank Act. Read more here

Chutney Soca funding slashed, Finalists vying for smaller prizes

For the third consecutive year, Government has reduced its subvention for the Chutney Soca Monarch competition. This time the cut is by 75 per cent—from $4.5 million in 2015 and $3.5 million in 2016, the figure is down to $1.18 million this year. George Singh, Southex CEO and producer of the event, said with sponsors also cutting back it is becoming very difficult to produce the show. “I don’t know how long we will be able to continue. The signal coming from Government is that they want to take away the subvention altogether. If they do, the show will die,” he said yesterday. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Schnoor: TT must pass FATCA

President of the Bankers Association (BATT) Anya Schnoor has stressed that the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) only applies to US citizens who are already subject to US tax laws and disclosures to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). She added that the Tax Information Exchange Agreements Bill currently before Parliament is simply intended to provide the mechanism to co-operate with the IRS on an obligation that already exists. She was speaking at a FATCA breakfast seminar held by the association and the accounting firm Deloitte on Monday at the Marriot Courtyard Hotel, Audrey Jeffers Highway, Port-of-Spain. She said the association started the discussion on FATCA with the Government in 2012 and since then several stakeholders, including the local banks, the Central Bank and the Board of Inland Revenue had been working towards its implementation. Read more here

Public to comment on Fatca legislation

It is unlikely that the timeline set by Finance Minister Colm Imbert for the Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act (Fatca) to be dealt with by both houses of Parliament would be met. This as the Joint Select Committee agrees that the public should be given an opportunity to have their say on the legislation. Government had set February 3rd, that’s Friday as the day for a vote on the legislation once the report from the JSC was delivered. But the Guardian has been reliably informed that at Wednesday’s meeting of the Committee which comprises Government, Opposition and Independent members of Parliament it was agreed that a public notice will be placed in the media inviting public comment on the legislation. The public we are told will be given ten days to submit comments, concerns and recommendations. Read more here

Guyana oil output may surpass T&T’s

Guyana has come a long way from being a recipient of discounted oil under special terms from Venezuela via PetroCaribe, to where it is now: set with ExxonMobil to topple Trinidad and Tobago as the new largest oil producer in the Caribbean, and one of the largest in South America. On a conference call with investors on Tuesday, ExxonMobil vice president of Investor Relations and Secretary Jeff Woodbury (because ExxonMobil chairman Rex Tillerson is US President Trump’s Secretary of State) said Guyana will initially produce about 100,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd). To put in perspective, T&T has been struggling to produce 70,000 bopd on average in 2016, according to Energy Ministry data as at last November. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Grenada PM attempts to muzzle local media... again

 In the latest in a series of attempts to muzzle local media extending over many years, lawyers acting for Grenada Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell have written to local radio talk show host Kem Jones requiring him to issue an apology and retraction, as well as pay unquantified damages and costs, in relation to allegedly defamatory remarks. Read more here

Trust Betrayed - Policemen, Pastors Main 'High-Profile' Sex Predators, CISOCA Head Tells Committee

The head of the Centre for Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA), Enid Ross-Stewart, told a committee of the nation's Parliament yesterday that pastors and policemen - two groups in which the nation places great trust - are among the main 'high-profile' perpetrators of sex offences against children. This revelation, according to a senior Christian pastor, is another example of the breakdown of values in Jamaica. The disclosure comes as public spotlight remains on the church community following the recent arrests and charge of three pastors from the Moravian Church in Jamaica for alleged sex offences. "We have constantly arrested high-profile members of the society, and, in particular, the Church. The Church and policemen are really our two highest, high-profile persons. The Church and police. Yes, my colleagues," Ross-Stewart, a superintendent of police, yesterday told a resurrected joint-select committee of Parliament that is reviewing Jamaica's sex laws. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

US-Australia refugee deal: Trump in 'worst call' with Turnbull

A phone call between US President Donald Trump and Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull has called into question a refugee resettlement deal. The Washington Post reported Mr Trump called the conversation "the worst by far" of his calls with world leaders that day, and cut it short. Mr Trump later tweeted that he would "study this dumb deal". Struck with the Obama administration, it would see up to 1,250 asylum seekers to Australia resettled in the US. Australia has controversially refused to accept the refugees - most of whom are men from Iran, Afghanistan and Iraq - and instead holds them in offshore detention centres on the Pacific nations of Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

PM Turnbull had been seeking clarification on the future of the deal after Mr Trump last Friday signed an executive order temporarily barring the entry into the US of refugees and people from seven Muslim-majority countries. Read more here

Brexit: Government to reveal plans for UK's exit from EU

UK Prime Minister Theresa May's government will formally set out details for the first time Thursday of its strategy for Britain's departure from the European Union. The long-awaited "white paper" is being published a day after lawmakers voted overwhelmingly in favor of a bill that once finalized would give May the authority to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty -- the formal process of leaving the EU. May gave the first real insights into her government's strategy in a speech last month, in which she committed to placing a final Brexit deal to a vote in both houses of the UK parliament. But many will hope that the white paper -- a policy document setting out the government's proposals -- provides more substance before members of Parliament next week again debate the bill that will allow the government to begin divorce talks. Read more here

 

2nd February 2017

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