Daily Brief - Tuesday 7th February, 2017

NEWS

Enough Police in TT

In the face of rampant crime and a murder rate of 62 (up to press time), Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley last evening said there is enough police officers in this country and once these men and women effectively do the work they are paid to do, crime will be dealt with. In the first of what has been deemed ‘Conversations with the Prime Minister’, Dr Rowley sat on a stage in the Maloney Mall amphitheatre before a large audience. Next to him was National Security Minister Edmund Dillon. Prior to the question and answer segment of the evening, the prime minister in his preamble, said that there is no one in this country who is more concerned about the crime rate than him. “But at the same time, there is only so much that the prime minister can do. Read more here

Cops need info on Asami’s murder

It’s still an open murder case after a year. The family of slain Japanese steelpan player Asami Nagakiya and officials of the Japanese Embassy in Port-of-Spain continue to live in hope that investigation into her murder a year ago will soon be closed. “We hope this unfortunate incident will be solved in the near future,” said deputy head of the Japanese mission, Masatushi Soto yesterday. “We also hope as Carnival 2017 approaches, Japanese nationals come for Carnival and stay and such a tragic incident will not occur again.” The body of Nagakiya, 31, was found on Ash Wednesday last year under a tree in the Savannah on Queen’s Park West. Read more here

Murder Nightmare

The 22-year-old man who sought help for Jamilia DeRevenaux, after finding her body at MovieTowne's car park on Sunday night, says he was treated like a common criminal by the security guards. He said, at one point, officers attached to Telecom Security Services Ltd pointed a gun at his head, instructed him to lie on the ground and handcuffed him in full view of onlookers, who stood taking photos of him. He is now contemplating taking legal action against the security firm, owned by MovieTowne owner Derek Chin. Read more here

 

POLITICS

FATCA Back in Parliament

All eyea will be on the Opposition on February 13 when the House of Representatives sits to debate a motion to adopt the report of the joint select committee (JSC) on the Tax Information Exchange Agreements Bill 2016. The bill is critical to ensuring this country is compliant with the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) of the United States. When he laid the report in the House last Friday, Finance Minister Colm Imbert said, “We leave the report open for the signatures of the Opposition.” Imbert, is also the chairman of this JSC. The other members are Attorney General Faris Al Rawi, Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Stuart Young, Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon, Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat, Caroni East MP Dr Tim Gopeesingh, Caroni Central MP Dr Bhoe Tewarie, Opposition Senator Gerald Ramdeen and Independent Senators Hugh Russell Ian Roach and Taurel Shrikissoon. Once the House approves the motion to adopt the JSC’s report on the bill, it will debate the bill again. Read more here

Pick your men wisely

Angered by the escalating crime rate, especially domestic-related murders in the last month, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley last night called on women to choose their male companions more wisely. Rowley was speaking during the first in a series of 14 Conversations with the Prime Minister public meetings at the amphitheatre of the Maloney Shopping Mall, when he referred to spate of killings of women in recent times. With the killing of Jamilia DeRevenaux at MovieTowne on Sunday night still fresh on the public’s mind, Rowley first knocked the T&T Police Service for its lack of urgency in delivering on a better detection rate to overall crime and murders in particular. “If a crime is to be committed, invariably, the police may not know it is to be committed and more often than not the police would only know after the crime has been committed,” he said. Read more here

  

BUSINESS

Canadian Investor Wants ArcelorMittal

A Canadian investor, interested in reviving the abandoned ArcelorMittal facilities in Point Lisas, is in Trinidad and willing to put his company’s proposals to Government. The investor has been in talks with the Steel Workers Union of TT (SWUTT) in a bid to restart the operations to provide employment for some 2,000 workers who were laid off when ArcelorMittal folded last year. Newsday understands that on January 6, the investor wrote to Finance Minister Colm Imbert requesting a “formal meeting with the Government to discuss a proposed joint partnership.” However, the investor received no reply and took the proactive stance in coming to Trinidad to see what he could achieve. In his letter, the investor said his company had extensive discussions with SWUTT which guaranteed their cooperation for the success of this venture that will contribute to the recovery of this country’s economy and provide employment for those displaced when ArcelorMittal folded in March last year. Read more here

RBC Royal Bank announces deposit fees

Eight months after it caused an uproar over its decision to increase fees for its personal and business banking services, RBC Royal Bank announced yesterday that, effective March 27, it would be introducing a number of new fees and increasing some of its existing fees. The Canadian-owned bank published a new personal banking schedule of fees and charges on its website. The new schedule includes an $8 deposit fee for what the bank describes as day-to-day banking, day-to-day savings, enhanced savings and student banking customers. The bank’s schedule does not make clear whether this new deposit fee includes ATM and salary deposits or if the fee pertains to only in-branch deposits. Deposits by savers over 60 and those defined as young savers remain free, as do deposits made by VIP banking customers and those who enjoy RBC Royal’s no-limit banking. Read more here

Residents protest again for jobs

La Brea residents took to peaceful protest again yesterday outside the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) site seeking employment at the Caribbean Gas Chemical Ltd (CGCL) plant currently under construction. Resident and safety officer Dixie Ann Williams is claiming that some contractors are victimising the residents because of the protest actions being taken. She said that MHI is not honouring the memorandum of understanding which promises employment opportunities at the plant for the duration of the construction. Williams said fence line residents were told by a spokesperson to register at the Ministry of Labour, which she claims was already done by residents; however, no employment opportunity is being given and documents are being lost. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Antigua-Barbuda implements new diplomatic passport policy

The Antigua and Barbuda Cabinet on Saturday approved a new policy on diplomatic and official passports to increase the level of transparency, accountability and legitimacy of diplomatic appointments. Prime Minister Gaston Browne announced details of the new policy in Parliament on Monday. The full text of the announcement is as follows: The government of Antigua and Barbuda, as a member-state of the international community, adheres to obligations under international law. These obligations include the conduct of international relations in conformity with international treaties. The government recognizes that threats to global well-being have altered and intensified, particularly in relation to terrorist activities and organized crime. Read more here

Jamaica Choking - JET Calls For Action On Air Pollution

The Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) is calling on the regulatory bodies with responsibility for air quality in Jamaica to carry out their duties. JET is also requesting that Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who is the minister of the environment, take immediate steps to address Jamaica's worsening air quality and give the issue the priority it deserves. JET's CEO Diana McCaulay's appeal comes in wake of an article published in the February 5 edition of The Sunday Gleaner titled 'Pollution crisis - Portmore residents with respiratory illnesses urged to flee foul community'. But the issue of pollution is not limited to Portmore, as air quality has been deteriorating in the Kingston Metropolitan Area, with data from the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) showing that the air quality in areas such as Spanish Town Road, Mona and Rockfort declined to the worst ever readings in 2015. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Nicolas Sarkozy: French ex-president ordered to stand trial

A French judge has ordered ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy to stand trial in an illegal campaign finance case. Mr Sarkozy faces accusations that his party falsified accounts in order to hide 18m euros (£15m; $20m) of campaign spending in 2012. Mr Sarkozy denies he was aware of the overspending, and will appeal against the order to stand trial. He lost the 2012 race, and failed in his bid to run again in this year's upcoming presidential election. The case is known as the Bygmalion scandal. It centres on claims that Mr Sarkozy's party, then known as the UMP, connived with a friendly PR company to hide the true cost of his 2012 presidential election campaign. Read more here

Trump adviser cites non-existent 'massacre' defending ban

Senior Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway made a statement during a TV interview Thursday that pricked the ears of fact-checkers everywhere. She told MSNBC's Chris Matthews: "I bet it's brand new information to people that President Obama had a six-month ban on the Iraqi refugee program after two Iraqis came here to this country, were radicalized and they were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre. It didn't get covered." First of all, Obama didn't ban the Iraqi refugee program. Second, there's no such thing as the Bowling Green massacre. Conway later clarified that she was referencing the case of two Iraqis -- Waad Ramadan Alwan and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi -- who lived in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Both were granted refugee status and entered the United States in 2009. Read more here

7th February 2017

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