Daily Brief - Tuesday 24th January, 2017

NEWS

Another shooting near police station

Two men remain warded at hospital after being shot during the early morning hours yesterday outside the Chaguanas Police Station. This is the second shooting incident near a police station with the first taking place last week in which two men were shot dead outside the Maracas Police Station. The victims of yesterday’s shooting incident have been identified as Devanand Deosaran, 32, and Damian Augustine, 37. According to police, at about 4.30 am, officers at the police station heard gunshots on the road outside the building and responded. On checking, the officers saw a silver-coloured Mitsubishi Lancer car along the roadway. When they checked further, they found Deosaran of Charlieville in the car. Read more here

Carmona Gets Death Threats

Security agencies are monitoring the situation following receipt last Sunday of death threats on the life of President Anthony Carmona, National Security Minister Edmund Dillon said yesterday. The anonymous death threat was received at the Police Command Centre before noon last Sunday, at approximately 11 am, it was confirmed by police sources. The caller - reportedly male - claimed to be from the “army,” they added. The person threatened the life of the President and “all ah dem.” They also stated they were “waiting by the Savannah to offload shots for the President.” The caller further threatened to “bomb” police stations. Read more here

Magistrate to teen: Get your tail inside or be arrested

“You will not be outdoors. By 7 p.m. get your tail inside your mother's house. You are not to come out until 7.30 a.m.” These were the words of deputy chief magistrate Nannette Forde-John at the San Fernando Magistrates' Court as she yesterday imposed a 12-hour daily curfew on a teenager charged with armed robbery. Forde-John told him to stay inside his mother's house between the hours of 7 p.m and 7.30 a.m. and, “If police officers see you outside in the street without being in the company of your mother, you will be arrested.” The teen was charged along with Nicholas Ballah with armed robbery at a bar in Marabella on January 13. Armed with a firearm, it is alleged that the two, along with another person, robbed the bar owner of cigarettes valued at $1,000, $1,250 in alcohol, a $500 cellular phone and $2,000 cash, and used personal violence towards the woman. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Energy sector continues to be ‘engine of prosperity

The energy sector of Trinidad and Tobago will continue to be the “engine of our country’s growth and prosperity.” Acting Minister of Energy, Colm Imbert, said so yesterday during his feature address at the 2017 Trinidad and Tobago Energy Conference. For this reason, it is crucial that the Government and the industry collaborate to create appropriate policies to sustain it. He continued, “...We also must recognise that global energy market has become much more competitive through the advent of shale gas in the USA and emerging oil and gas economies in developing countries. “In this scenario, companies must harness new technology, such as digitisation, robotics, and analytics, to improve efficiency and output. Other measures include the sharing of services and equipment, in particular, the sharing of rigs and seismic vessels.” Read more here

Comply with Ministry registration guidelines

Parents who have to line up for hours outside primary schools seeking to enroll their children has been described as outrageous and ridiculous by Education Minister Anthony Garcia. Garcia said, “This is totally unfair to parents. Principals must stop this and put things in place to ensure forms are made available to those desirous of having their child attend the school.” The Minister advised that registration should be done during the months of February and March within regular school hours. Following the selection process, students would begin the academic year 2017/2018 from September. Read more here

Duke Grabs Two

The People's National Movement (PNM) retained control of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) with a slightly reduced majority of 10-2 in yesterday's THA election. The PNM's complete dominance in the THA was broken by the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) led by Watson Duke. The PNM had previously controlled all 12 seats (between 2013-2017). Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said last night that the PNM's showing was a “handsome victory by any standard”, adding, “We are extremely happy.” Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Central Bank to do away with cents

The one cent coin is to be eliminated from this country’s currency, presumably later this year, following an announcement by the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago (CBTT) that the one cent costs more to make than its actual monetary value. The CBTT also plans to save money by changing the metal composition of the 5, 10 and 25 cent coins. No specific date was given for these changes but the bank did say “more details” would be provided “in the next few months”. This would include, as stated by the CBTT, the “issue date of the new 5, 10 and 25 cent coins, details of coin redemption and donation drives, and publication of the cash price rounding rules.” The decision to stop minting one cents is likely to be met with mixed reaction, as some ‘Trinis’ have long regarded the one cent as almost useless while others expect to receive proper change when their bill says they are owed $0.01. Read more here

Acting Energy Minister: Overhaul for energy fiscal regime

Government is moving to restructure the fiscal regime for oil and gas production, taking into consideration a review by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), acting Energy Minister Colm Imbert said yesterday. Imbert, who filled in for the ailing Franklin Khan at the T&T Energy Conference and Trade Show, which opened at the Hyatt Regency in Port-of-Spain, said it was necessary to produce a win-win situation for all to motivate energy companies to explore and increase production so that Government could optimise its revenue from the sector. Read more here

Courier companies get green light for lawsuit 

Permission has been granted to six air freight courier companies to file a judicial review lawsuit against the State challenging the implementation of the seven per cent Online Purchase Tax (OPT) which came into effect last October. Justice Ricky Rahim, presiding at the Hall of Justice in Port of Spain yesterday, granted leave to the companies to challenge the legality of the move without the companies being first consulted. The companies are Ecouriers Ltd, Websource Company Ltd, Jetbox International Ltd, Aeropost Ltd, CSF Couriers Ltd and Caribbean Shipping Agencies Ltd. They are seeking to have the court declare that the implementation of the OPT by Finance Minister Colm Imbert and the Office of the Attorney General without their input was irrational, wholly unreasonable, disproportionate to any legitimate aim of the Minister of Finance and the AG's Office and amounted to an irregular and improper exercise. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

'Doomed To Failure' - Lawyer For Embattled Moravian Ministers Says Case Lacks Credibility - Accuser Vows To Fight To The End

Hours after detectives from the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse charged former president of the Moravian Church in Jamaica and Grand Cayman, the Rev. Dr Paul Gardner, and former vice president, the Rev. Jermaine Gibson, for carnal abuse and indecent assault, the alleged victim vowed to press for justice even as an attorney representing the churchmen says the case is “doomed to failure”. The woman who accused both Gardner and Gibson told The Gleaner yesterday that she was happy that the men have been charged, noting that “my resolve to see it through is even greater, especially given their insistence on saying the charges are unfounded as per the statement issued by their lawyer.” Read more here

Guyana prison system is recruitment centre for new criminals, say former inmates

Contrary to the goals of reforming convicts in an effort to make them into better persons before re-entry into society, the Guyana prison system is apparently doing the opposite. At least this is the view of several former inmates with whom the Guyana Guardian has spoken, in a bid to determine whether their incarceration had made them into better persons. By their accounts, and the independent cross examination of several court records from 2012 to now, the publication was able to determine that at least 75% of all first time offenders who would have served time in prison or had spend at least a month on remand for the first time, have ended up right back into prison thereafter for sometimes more violent offences. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Brexit: Supreme Court says Parliament must give Article 50 go-ahead

Parliament must vote on whether the government can start the Brexit process, the Supreme Court has ruled. The judgement means Theresa May cannot begin talks with the EU until MPs and peers give their backing - although this is expected to happen in time for the government's 31 March deadline. But the court ruled the Scottish Parliament and Welsh and Northern Ireland assemblies did not need a say. Brexit Secretary David Davis will make a statement to MPs at 12:30 GMT. Read more here

Why moving the US embassy to Jerusalem is so controversial

The United States is expected to move cautiously on President Donald Trump's pledge to relocate its embassy in Israel. On Monday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer insisted no decision had been made over moving the embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. "We're at the very early stages of that decision-making process," Spicer told reporters. Spicer later said that the Trump administration was going to "continue to consult with stakeholders as we get there." Read more here

 

24th January 2017

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