Daily Brief - Tuesday 25th July 2017

NEWS

New IMA Board appointed

This country’s land and marine environment are under “considerable threat.” Planning Minister Camille Robins on-Re g i s made this observation to members of the new board of governors of the Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA) during a recent ceremony at the Old Fire Station on Abercromby Street, Port- of- Spain where she handed them their instruments of appointmnent. “These threats arise from a combination of factors, not least of which is our predilection as citizens to be authors of our own misery,” Robins on-Re g i s stated. She asked, “ How else does one explain a bonfire being set on a beach that is known to be a nesting site for our leatherback turtles that results, based on reports, in about 80 hatchlings literally being roasted alive? How else do we explain the tonnes of garbage illegally disposed along river banks and in watercourses that contributed in no small way to the flooding experienced in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Bret? Read more here

No gag order on Marcia case

Attorneys for Chief Justice Ivor Archie are expected to move for an adjournment to give them time to review and file affidavits in the landmark case of former chief magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar versus the Judicial and Legal Service Commission and Chief Justice Ivor Archie. The T&T Guardian has been reliably informed that the CJ’s team will include Senior Counsel Deborah Peake, Russell Martineau and Reginald Armour when the matter is called before Justice David Harris on Thursday. Meanwhile, the Registrar of the High Court yesterday confirmed to Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj SC that there is no gag order on the matter. Maharaj had written to the Registrar on the issue last week, after reading media reports which suggested the documents in the case had been sealed although he made no such request. Read more here

Duke denies receiving letter

Where does the truth lie? The Port Authority is claiming that it sent correspondence to trade unionist Watson Duke on two distinct occasions relating to the implementation of the electronic scanner. However, Duke is denying receipt of the correspondence. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Rambharat: Property tax won’t raise food prices

Property Tax will not drive up the price of food, Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat assured during an address to members of the Agricultural Society (ASTT) on Sunday during a national forum entitled, “The Property Tax and its Impact on Food Production and the Agricultural Sector.” “I do not think that in its current form, the potential cost to food producers is going to be exorbitant or something that drives up food prices. But I think that when we get beyond land and we start dealing with structures, the Commissioner of Valuations and Government would have to define what happens, given different scenarios,” Rambharat said. Read more here

Minister on tertiary sector: Impossible to continue wholesale funding

Although the current administration has continued to place much emphasis on the provision of education across all levels, senior government officials have said that it is simply impossible to continue the wholesale funding for the tertiary sector due to several pressing reasons. Chief among the reasons was the current economic constraints which necessitated an urgent revision of the Government Assistance for Tuition Expenses (GATE) programme and the fact that that a comprehensive review had not been undertaken since its introduction in 2004. Read more here

Garcia: Not degrees 

Education Minister Anthony Garcia has confirmed that entry requirements for programmes at The University of the West Indies (The UWI) have been lowered. The minister, when questioned by the media yesterday, said the prerequisites for entry were lowered for the certificate programmes offered at The UWI's Faculty of Social Sciences. A Prior Learning Assessment Requirement (PLRA), he said, will also be done for the applicant. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Roget: Media workers among most vulnerable

Media workers are one of the most vulnerable groups facing the possibility of being put on the breadline, says Joint Trade Union Movement president Ancel Roget. He made the observation while responding to the Central Bank’s monetary policy report May 2017 which reported that the latest data from the Central Statistical Office (CSO) revealed that the unemployment rate rose in the third quarter of 2016, to 4.0 per cent from 3.4 per cent in the similar quarter of 2015. The CSO also reported that during the third quarter of 2016, the number of persons with jobs fell by 6,600 persons (year-on-year). Read more here

Stakeholders happy

The Cabo Star, the newest cargo vessel on the sea bridge, set sail late yesterday, after being called into service earlier than scheduled. But while the vessel accommodated all the trucks which had backed up because of problems with the Atlantic Provider, it did little to ease the frustration of angry truckers. General Manager of the Inter-Island ferry Service Leon Grant confirmed the vessel was not originally scheduled to sail yesterday, “because we were waiting to complete all the necessary documentation and paperwork, there are a lot of little things to do, but when we realised the situation with the Atlantic Provider we could not afford to let it continue.” Read more here

Digicel: Need for a level playing field

Digicel chairman Denis O'Brien has stressed the need for regulators to create a level playing field for all players in the digital world, including over-the-top (OTT) operators, governments and telecoms providers. He was speaking to an audience of regulators from over 60 countries at the recently concluded 17th Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR), in the Bahamas. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

'Bad-Mind' Active - Crime, Violence, Corruption And Envy The Worst Things About Living In Jamaica

Crime, violence and 'bad-mindedness' have emerged as the main issues that cause most Jamaicans to not be so proud of the country. Corruption, unemployment and poverty also figure high on the list when Jamaicans were asked about the things that make them not so proud or ashamed of the country and cause them to dislike living here. That, according to a recent Gleaner-commissioned Bill Johnson poll that tested the pulse of the nation on the perceptions of Jamaicans after 55 years of Independence. The poll, which was conducted from June 9 to 11 across the island with 1,500 respondents and a sampling error of plus or minus two per cent, found that 74 per cent of respondents listed crime, violence, bad-mindedness and corruption as the things that made most ashamed to be Jamaicans, with poverty, unemployment and ineffective government added to the list, for 92 per cent of the reasons persons don't like living in the island. Read more here

Venezuela opposition avoiding meeting, says St Vincent PM

Speaking on the current situation in Venezuela, St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said President Nicolas Maduro wants to have a conversation with the opposition; however, the opposition is avoiding the conversation. Gonsalves said in light of this Maduro is looking to the Constitution to find a structured conversation with the people, and a structured political conversation with the people involves a constituent assembly. “It’s not replacing the national assembly,” Gonsalves stated. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Israel removes flashpoint metal detectors at Jerusalem holy site

Israel has removed metal detectors from outside a holy site in East Jerusalem after uproar from Palestinians over their recent introduction. It said it plans to replace them with less obtrusive surveillance. However Muslim leaders have called on worshippers to continue boycotting the sacred compound for now. There were deadly clashes after the metal detectors were set up, which Palestinians saw as an Israeli attempt to assert control over the site. Read more here

Trump slams AG Sessions' 'weak' position on Clinton emails

President Donald Trump continued his recent public shaming of Attorney General Jeff Sessions Tuesday, lashing out at his "very weak position" on prosecuting Hillary Clinton's "crimes." "Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump campaign - 'quietly working to boost Clinton.' So where is the investigation A.G. @seanhannity," the President tweeted just after 6 a.m. ET, followed by a second tweet minutes later criticizing Sessions' "weak" position. "Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes (where are E-mails & DNC server) & Intel leakers!" he wrote. Read more here

25th July 2017

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