Daily Brief - Tuesday 19th September, 2017

NEWS

Annisette denies sex claim

Saying the truth will prevail, Seamen and Waterfront Workers Trade Union (SWWTU) head Michael Annisette yesterday refuted sexual harassment allegations before Parliament’s Joint Select Committee (JSC) probing the sea-bridge, in Tower D, Port-of- Spain. Moruga MP Dr Lovell Francis said workers are alleging “serious abuses” by a SWWTU-owned firm that cleans and caters on the inter-island ferries. Annisette said sex-for-work claims about the company, were once told to Tobago House of Assembly (THA) former head Orville London, who later profusely apologized to him (Annisette) upon learning this was untrue. Annisette said, “People will say anything in Trinidad when they can’t get their own way. Read more here

Chance robbed at Beetham landfill

Vision on Mission founder Wayne Chance is calling for adequate security at the Beetham Landfill after he was robbed there on Sunday morning. Chance was robbed of his gold chain by a man after he went to the site with several former prisoners to dump garbage. However, several scavengers who were there, saw the incident and realised it was Chance, later managed to apprehend the suspect and retrieve the chain. In an interview yesterday, Chance said when he entered the landfill’s gate there were police and security guard present. However, he and his group were soon approached by a group of men armed with various objects as they prepared to offload garbage. Read more here

Gunman takes teen hostage

A 32-year-old man, who allegedly held a 17-year-old student at gunpoint yesterday morning in a hostage situation at Metal Industries Company (MIC) Institute of Technology in Arima, is in custody and is expected to be charged with several offences. The suspect, who is from Santa Cruz, eventually released the hostage unharmed and surrendered to police. Read more here

 

POLITICS

TS Maria turns into Category 5 hurricane

Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerritt is urging the citizens of that country to take heed and take precautions with the passage of Tropical Storm Maria which was upgraded to a Category Five Hurricane last night. Maria is expected to hit hardest the islands of Dominica, St Kitts/Nevis and Puerto Rico.
It was revealed that several Grenadian lawyers left Dominica on Sunday to head back home, hoping to avoid the wrath of Maria, after Irma left devastation, death and destruction as she wrought her havoc on the Leeward Islands. Read more here

Kamla not apologising to A&V Oil & Gas

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s attorneys have told attorneys for A&V Oil and Gas that she will not be intimated or scared into silence and that A&V’s claim is ill-founded, baseless in law and doomed to fail. In a release yesterday, Persad-Bissessar said she had been advised by attorney Douglas Bayley, of Freedom Law Chambers, that as Opposition Leader she is free to comment on “all aspects of governance, including the performance and transparency and accountability of state-owned enterprises,” since this is “constitutionally protected and vital to the democracy.” Read more here

Kamla slams Rowley's call to 'BFF' Baksh

Was Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley guilty of misconduct and attempting to pervert the course of justice when he phoned his friend Hanif Nazim Baksh, owner of A&V Oil and Gas Ltd when the fake oil scandal broke? Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar asked this question last night at United National Congress (UNC) public meeting at the Union Presbyterian School, Pointe-a-Pierre. Persad-Bissessar also questioned whether Petrotrin's equipment is on the compound of A&V Oil and Gas and whether there is any link to the Petrotrin equipment that went missing from a Tabaquite field. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Business did not conspire with Govt

The Energy Chamber has categorically rejected an accusation by the Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM), that the business community has been conspiring with government to retrench workers. In a media release yesterday, the Chamber cited a JTUM statement issued last Friday in which the umbrella labour organisation revealed that it had left the National Tripartite Advisory Council (NTAC) because “both the government and employers had joined together in the retrenchment of workers even while the Labour Movement was a part of the tripartite body.” Read more here

iQOR executive: Local absenteeism rate unacceptably high

Despite facing the problem of a 20 per cent absenteeism rate in T&T, business process outsourcing provider iQOR is confident that the T&T market remains a lucrative one. Last Friday, director of operations at iQOR with responsibility for providing customer care for Metro PCS Brian Henderson, as well as John Swain, director of operations at iQOR with responsibility for providing customer service to 1-800-flowers, toured iQOR's new Barataria office facilities along with Minister of Trade and Industry Paula Gopee-Scoon. According to Swain the rate of absenteeism in T&T was almost five times greater than what obtained in other territories in which the company operates. Read more here

Call for action on Petrotrin oil scandal

The Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute (TTTI) has called for a speedy conclusion to allegations of massive corruption involving State-owned Petrotrin and a lease operator. In a statement yesterday, the TTTI noted with concern reports arising out of an internal auditor's report and pointing to “allegedly corrupt transactions involving millions of dollars over a period of several months”. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Court System Undermined? Chief Justice, DPP Infuriated By Staff Shortage

Chief Justice Zaila McCalla yesterday suggested that some of the measures being put in place to clear the backlog of cases in the circuit courts are being undermined by inadequate staffing. Her concerns came on the same day chief prosecutor Paula Llewellyn went public with her frustration over delays by the finance ministry to give her office the go-ahead to fill 17 posts, for which approval has already been given. Amid the concerns, the backlog of cases in the Home Circuit Court continues to balloon. According to statistics compiled by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, a total of 861 cases are down for trial during the Michaelmas Term, which got under way yesterday. Read more here

Hurricane Maria 'devastates' Dominica: PM

Dominica has suffered "widespread damage" from Hurricane Maria, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit says. "We have lost all that money can buy," he said in a Facebook post. The hurricane suddenly strengthened to a "potentially catastrophic" category five storm, before making landfall on the Caribbean island. Earlier Mr Skerrit had posted live updates as his own roof was torn off, saying he was "at the complete mercy of the hurricane". Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Exclusive: US government wiretapped former Trump campaign chairman

US investigators wiretapped former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort under secret court orders before and after the election, sources tell CNN, an extraordinary step involving a high-ranking campaign official now at the center of the Russia meddling probe. The government snooping continued into early this year, including a period when Manafort was known to talk to President Donald Trump. Some of the intelligence collected includes communications that sparked concerns among investigators that Manafort had encouraged the Russians to help with the campaign, according to three sources familiar with the investigation. Two of these sources, however, cautioned that the evidence is not conclusive. Read more here

Rohingya crisis: Suu Kyi does not fear global 'scrutiny'

 Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has said her government does not fear "international scrutiny" of its handling of the growing Rohingya crisis. It was her first address to the country about the violence in northern Rakhine state that has seen more than 400,000 Rohingya Muslims cross into Bangladesh. Ms Suu Kyi has faced heavy criticism for her response to the crisis. She said there had been no "clearance operations" for two weeks. Read more here

19th September 2017

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