Daily Brief - Tuesday 14th February, 2017

NEWS

Have independent bullying probe

The National Parents Teachers Association (NPTA) is calling for a fresh and independent probe into an alleged bullying attack at the Mayaro Government Primary school which has left nineyear- old Tristan Khan nursing a dislocated right elbow. In making the call, the NPTA is calling on the school’s principal, the school supervisor and teachers to recuse themselves from the at the Mayaro Government Primary School to be removed from investigations into incidents at the school which led to nine year old student, Tristan Khan’s elbow being broken. Investigations were conducted by the principal and the school supervisor. Based on reports from said investigations, the Ministry of Education and the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association concluded that - contrary to Khan’s own testimony - Khan’s elbow was broken by accident as the boys were “simulating wrestling acts.” Blame was further passed on to the children, as teachers said they were warned just the day before about the practice. Read more here

Two held for gang rape

After being beaten, robbed and gang raped by three men posing as a taxi driver and passengers, a San Fernando cashier was left to crawl out of the bushes in Debe. But within hours of reporting the ordeal, San Fernando CID arrested two of the suspects at their Woodland home, while the search continued for another yesterday. A report stated that around 8 pm Saturday, the 26-year-old woman was standing outside Skinner Park, Cipero Street where she boarded a white Nissan Sunny B-15. She asked to be taken to Lord Street, San Fernando where she would get another taxi to go home. Read more here

PoS merchants feeling the pinch too

“It's terrible! It's awful, dreadfully slow.” These sentiments were expressed by business owners in downtown Port of Spain yesterday when it came to Valentine's Day sales. Similar to their San Fernando counterparts, several business owners are hoping for a last-minute rush today to offset slow sales they have been experiencing for the entire week. In fact, one store owner, Sharmilla Maharaj, said Valentine's Day is one of her busiest seasons but this year has been rather dismal. She said: “Things have been very slow since Christmas. I was hoping for things to pick back up by now but no luck. I just hope tomorrow is better.” Read more here

 

POLITICS

Rowley: I Listen to Women

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley says he continues to speak with and listen to women about their concerns regarding domestic violence. He made the comment in response to a series of questions from Opposition MPs during Prime Minister’s Question Period in the House of Representatives yesterday. Asked by Couva North MP Ramona Ramdial whether he would meet with women’s groups to explain statements he made on violence against women, last week at the ‘Conversations with the Prime Minister’ in Maloney, Rowley assured, “Before becoming Prime Minister and as Prime Minister I have had many conversations with women. I have been in consultation with women’s groups.” Rowley said there are seven safe houses and shelters, “at various stages of construction and completion” to prevent and protect men, women and children from domestic and sexual abuse and violence. He indicated two of these facilities are new and five are residential homes which are being refurbished. Read more here

Women’s NGOs to PM: Make domestic violence part of conversation

Sunity Maharaj, managing director of the Lloyd Best Institute of the West Indies, yesterday called on Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to focus on the issue of domestic violence as part of the series of conversations to the nation. Maharaj was speaking outside the Parliament on Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain, yesterday, after she and several women’s stakeholder groups and NGOs tried unsuccessfully to deliver paper roses to Rowley and make their request. The paper roses, made with local newspapers, were painted red and symbolically depicted women who had lost their lives to domestic violence, Maharaj said. The women tried to give several of the politicians the roses as they entered the Parliament. Some of them refused the offering while others accepted. But some of those roses never made it inside the Parliament chamber and were discarded outside in the lobby area. Read more here

Harvey: Rowley right, look for a good man

FR Clyde Harvey said yesterday Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley was not wrong when last week he called on women to be wise in their choice of men. Harvey delivered the homily during the funeral service for 27-year-old murder victim Jamilia De Revenaux at the Holy Rosary/St Martin de Porres Church in Gonzales. When Rowley last week Monday advised women to be more careful in their choice of men he was speaking at his first “national conversation” with citizens in Maloney. The controversial statement followed the murder of De Revenaux the night before at MovieTowne, Port of Spain. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

CWU: Pay pension sums for Telco, TSTT!

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) last week held its fourth in a series of weekly protests outside RBC Bank, Independence Square, Portof- Spain, to demand that the bank does its duty as trustee for the pension fund of TSTT and Telco and make payments to retirees. CWU head Joseph Rem, said 200 to 300 retirees were affected. He accused RBC Trust Company of not making timely payments of pension orgdue increases to these sums. “We had a settlement for the 2011 to 2013 collective bargaining period. Our pensions are pegged to our final salary and since August last year, based on the 2011 to 2013 collective agreement, RBC has not paid the adjusted pension for 200 to 300 retirees. “They also have to pay a retroactive payment. Read more here

Clico Energy resurfaces in Court of Appeal

State-controlled CL Financial (CLF) has scored a minor victory in its legal battle over the US$47 million sale of its subsidiary Clico Energy shortly after Government’s takeover of the conglomerate. CL Financial, whose board has a majority of government-appointed directors, yesterday won a procedural appeal against Proman Holdings and Consolidated Energy Ltd. Those companies, which held 49 per cent of Clico Energy before February 2009, purchased CL Financial’s 51 per cent stake in Clico Energy in February 2009, three days after Government’s bailout. The shares were subsequently valued at approximately US$130 million, according to an attorney in yesterday’s hearing. Delivering an oral ruling at the Hall of Justice in Port-of-Spain yesterday afternoon, Chief Justice Ivor Archie and Appellate Judges Peter Jamadar and Prakash Moosai ruled that the trial judge hearing the case widened its scope by ordering that CL Financial disclose documents related to the sale of its assets since 2009. Read more here

Licensing HQ opens in Caroni

Full services for motor vehicle licensing will continue to be available at Port of Spain and San Fernando, following the opening of the new Licensing Headquarters at Caroni. The facility was opened to the public yesterday and also ceremonially opened by Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan, who said the office on Wrightson Road will remain operational. The Caroni headquarters will feature an amalgamation of the Wrightson Road, Port of Spain, administrative services and the Chaguanas Licensing Office. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Foreign minister accused of reducing Bahamas reputation to 'junk' status

In a recent press statement, the Grand Bahama Human Rights Association (GBHRA) claimed that Bahamas foreign minister Fred Mitchell’s “reckless attacks” on renowned human rights activists are threatening the country’s good name internationally. “It would seem that … Mitchell will not rest until the country’s image abroad is as feeble and tarnished as its current credit rating,” GBHRA said, calling on Prime Minister Perry Christie to “find the courage to rein in his reckless, unbalanced minister before The Bahamas' reputation has been downgraded to ‘junk’ status and we become a laughingstock in the international community.” The GBHRA statement followed a press release by the Bahamas foreign ministry in response to an open letter from Kerry Kennedy, president of Robert F Kennedy Human Rights, published by Caribbean News Now. Read more here

Shot In Cold Blood - Tearful Survivor Gives Harrowing Tale Of Point-Blank Attack

A Clarendon man was yesterday allowed time by a High Court judge to compose himself as he recounted, amid tears, the moment in 2010 when he said a police constable used a high-powered rifle to shoot him at close range in broad daylight. The man, whose name is being withheld, was giving evidence as the main prosecution witness in the trial of the first so-called police death squad case, which began in the Home Circuit Court in downtown Kingston. Police constables Collis Brown, also known as 'Chucky', and Roan Morrison are on trial for murder and wounding with intent. They were charged following an incident near the May Pen town centre in Clarendon on February 13, 2010 in which Phaebian Dinnal was shot dead and another man suffered gunshot wounds. The witness used a rag to wipe tears from his eyes as he pointed at Brown - seated in the prisoner dock of the spacious courtroom - as the man who pointed "a long gun" at him from the back seat of a Toyota Probox motor car before he heard a loud explosion. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Ebola 'super-spreaders' cause most cases

The majority of cases in the world's largest outbreak of Ebola were caused by a tiny handful of patients, research suggests. The analysis, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows nearly two thirds of cases (61%) were caused by 3% of infected people. The young and old were more likely to have been "super-spreaders". It is hoped understanding their role in spreading the infection will help contain the next outbreak. More than 28,600 people were infected with Ebola during the 2014-15 outbreak in West Africa and around 11,300 people died. Read more here

Flynn's resignation doesn't end controversy surrounding White House

Michael Flynn's resignation as national security adviser removes an immediate political headache for the White House but will do little to dispel suspicions about his ties with Russia that now threaten to envelop President Donald Trump's nascent administration. Flynn quit late Monday as controversy raged over revelations that he misled Vice President Mike Pence -- who then defended him on television -- over whether he discussed US sanctions with Moscow's ambassador to the US before the inauguration. Such a move could be a breach of the law. On a night of stunning, fast-moving drama, extraordinary even by this White House's elevated standards, Flynn's fate took on a sense of inevitability despite Trump's instinct to retain a loyal aide. By Monday evening, White House press secretary Sean Spicer issued a statement saying Trump was "evaluating the situation." His departure was confirmed hours later. Read more here

14th February 2017

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