Daily Brief - Thursday 3rd August, 2017

NEWS

Death Over Woman

An Arouca man was bounced down by his own car and killed on Tuesday in what police said was a case of a brawl over a woman, between the victim another man, with whom the woman has a child. Police are saying that Akeem ‘Bean’ Reid, 25, and a group of friends left a house party on Monday night when he decided to pay a visit to a lady friend at her St John Road in St Augustine. After liming for several hours, the woman invited Reid to spend the night with her, with his friends being told they could stay in the porch. At 8 am on Tuesday, while the men were all asleep, the woman received a call from the father of one of her children informing her that he was on his way. The woman quickly woke up the men and told them they all had to leave. As the men were exiting the house, the other man was arriving. A heated argument ensued. Read more here

When reading becomes redemption

For the past 25 years Alta has delivered literacy instruction to adults in T&T. Alta students come from a wide range of backgrounds and come to Alta for many different reasons. For some, Alta represents an opportunity to be able to read to their children or help them with their homework. For others, Alta gives them the opportunity to further their studies or live life freely, never having to decline a job offer or a relationship due to their literacy problems. Thousands of Alta students have graduated the programme at different levels and gone on to obtain school leaving certificates, Associate degrees, Undergraduate degrees and full-time employment. Many others are now benefitting from new found self-confidence and independence. Today, an Alta graduate, John Bascombe shares his story. Bascombe lives in Central Trinidad and came to Alta as a Level One student in September 2009. In July 2013 he graduated from Alta and has gone on to do great things. Read more here

Truck snags, brings down 6 utility poles

Murphy’s Law made a pass through Trinidad yesterday, bringing fallen poles, landslides and gas leaks but thankfully, no loss of human life. First, an early morning landslide in Maracas partially blocked the road until afternoon. This followed steady rainfall on the North Coast for most of Emancipation Day on Tuesday. In Point Fortin, an emergency evacuation had to be carried out at Atlantic’s liquefied natural gas facility shortly before noon yesterday, following a leak at one of its liquefaction units (trains). Read more here

 

POLITICS

Charles: TT without a foreign policy

Naparima MP Rodney Charles yesterday alleged that the Government’s “lack of a well thought out, pragmatic and nuanced foreign policy towards Venezuela,” shows that it has abdicated its responsibility for foreign policy. In a release, Charles referred to events which have transpired in Venezuela in the wake of voting in that country’s Constituent National Assembly on Sunday. According to Charles, “We are now all left hoping for divine intervention.” He claimed the former People’s Partnership (PP) government used its clout in Caricom to support Jamaica’s desire to be an honest broker among contending parties in Venezuela. He alleged since the PP demitted office, “We outsourced our Caricom foreign policy to the likes of Antigua and Barbuda and St Vincent and the Grenadines.” Charles claimed both countries are ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America) members and, “came down too heavily on the side of (Venezuelan President Nicolas) Maduro.” He reiterated the Opposition’s criticism of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley for taking issue with Organisation of American States (OAS) Secretary General Luis Almagro for criticising Maduro. Read more here

$.2M For Illegal Arrest

A Jamaican woman has been awarded more than $200,000 in damages by the courts for unlawful detention by Immigration authorities in Trinidad and Tobago. Her lawyers told the Express yesterday it was unlawful for police and Immigration authorities to round up foreigners and detain them at the Immigration Detention Centre, Aripo, where they are denied fundamental human rights. Scores of detainees at the centre have pleaded for their freedom in the midst of squalid and oppressive conditions in which they are being kept. Read more here

Auditors couldn’t verify CLF figures, says Bharath

Auditors were unable to verify figures brought forward from 2009 concerning CL Financial’s audited statements and were unable to sign off on those statements as a result, former minister of finance Vasant Bharath has said. Bharath spoke about the issue as debate raged on why Government was unable to access information on CL Financial’s audited statements. Former People’s National Movement finance minister Mariano Browne had asked called on current Finance Minister Colm Imbert and the current Government to say why the Government-controlled CLF board didn’t provide audited financial statements for eight years although it was required to. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Swissport workers told to exercise rights on Friday

Public Services Association president Watson Duke yesterday again management of the local branch of Swissport International that workers will no longer tolerate being short-changed in terms of contracts, salaries and constitutionally afforded rights regarding designated lunch and recreational breaks. He made the comment yesterday as he renewed his call for the workers to join their counterparts from the Customs and Excise Department and the Agricultural Development Bank in a planned union march in Port-of-Spain on Friday to demonstrate their displeasure with the current terms and conditions being meted out to workers. “Employers cannot continue to treat workers like this, enough is enough,” Duke told Swissport workers at the Piarco International Airport yesterday. Read more here

Unilever profits plummet 71%

UNILEVER Caribbean Ltd, the Champs Fleurs-based producer and distributor of consumer goods, yesterday reported a 71 per cent decline in its after-tax profits for the six months ending June 30, 2017. The company’s after-tax profits declined to $6.83 million for the period January to June, 2017, compared with $23.84 million for the comparable period in 2016. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

OCG Triggered - Gun Authority Engulfed In Scandal On Agency's Radar For Months; Board Resigns

At least four months ago, the Office of the Contractor General (OCG) started probing the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA), whose five board members resigned yesterday, 48 hours after its chairman, Dennis Wright, said that they were going nowhere over the unfolding gun-licence scandal. The confirmation yesterday from Dirk Harrison, contractor general, now puts to four, the number of probes initiated into the operations of the entity since the high-profile Patrick Powell case last October highlighted several blunders. National Security Minister Robert Montague said in November that the agency was "either corrupt or broken" when he ordered a probe of the agency's systems. There has been no update on that, and the review board last week was mandated to do a similar one. Read more here

Venezuela opposition leaders arrested

The top United Nations human rights official on Tuesday expressed deep concern about the detention of two opposition leaders by Venezuelan authorities after Sunday's elections for a Constituent Assembly convened by President Nicolás Maduro. “I am deeply concerned that opposition leaders Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma have again been taken into custody by Venezuelan authorities after their house arrest was revoked,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein in a statement issued by his office (OHCHR). He urged the government immediately to release all those being held for exercising their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, association and expression, noting that the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention considers the detention of both Lopez and Ledezma to be arbitrary. Maduro has declared victory in Sunday's elections for the new body, which could replace the current National Assembly. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Statue of Liberty caught in White House immigration row

The Statue of Liberty was the focus of a monumental exchange between a White House adviser and a reporter after Donald Trump backed an immigration policy favouring the better-educated. "The Statue of Liberty says, 'Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free'," CNN's Jim Acosta told Stephen Miller. "It doesn't say anything about speaking English," Mr Acosta added. Mr Miller said the poem on the iconic American statue was "added later". The immigration overhaul, backed by Mr Trump on Wednesday, would curb the number of permanent, legal migrants allowed in the US each year and prioritise those who can speak English or are highly skilled. Mr Trump's senior policy adviser at the White House, Mr Miller, said at a press briefing that the policy was "compassionate". The question-and-answer session turned into a fiery row as Mr Miller and Mr Acosta clashed on the issue. Read more here

Trump signs bill approving new sanctions against Russia

President Donald Trump signed into law Wednesday morning legislation that levies new sanctions against Russia and restricts Trump's own ability to ease sanctions in place against Moscow. The bill is one of the first major pieces of legislation that was sent to Trump's desk, and it represents a rebuke of the President by giving Congress new veto power to block him from removing Russia sanctions. The White House announced the signing shortly after 11 a.m. ET, saying the bill includes "a number of clearly unconstitutional provisions" that "purport to displace the President's exclusive constitutional authority to recognize foreign governments, including their territorial bounds." Read more here

3rd August 2017

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