Daily Brief - Tuesday 7th March, 2017

NEWS

Save Me From Stalker

A 39-year-old woman, who has reported on several occasions that she is being stalked by a man at her Tunapuna home, is calling on police to do more to protect her and her two children. Lian David says she is terrified of the 56-year-old man against whom she has a court order. On Wednesday last, the suspect pleaded guilty to three counts of stalking and harassing David and was ordered to stay 50 feet away from her home and her children’s school. During the court hearing, the man told the magistrate he could not explain why he could not stay away from David, but he was warned that any breach of the order would not be tolerated. However, David said despite the warning and the order of the court, the man turned up outside her home that very afternoon but stayed about 55 feet away. Read more here

Debe cane fields now a hot spot for killings

Had police been patrolling the streets instead of focusing on speeding and drunk drivers, gunmen may not have been able the storm a Debe bar last Thursday and murder three men. According to Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal, Government’s focus is on speed traps and breathalysers instead of the rampant murders plaguing T&T. Speaking to reporters outside the funeral for Sanjay Mahabir in Rose Gardens, Debe yesterday, Moonilal said the cane fields of Debe has now become the killing fields of Debe. “It is very sad that our community in Debe is now a hotspot in every sense. We call upon the Minister of National Security and the police to treat the Debe community as a hotspot given the murders that have been taking place, the kidnappings and robberies. Read more here

Pupils Pelt Teacher

An amazing scene played out yesterday at the Ste Madeleine Secondary School with pupils pelting teachers with bottles. As teachers engaged in protest action outside the Ste Madeleine Secondary School yesterday against their principal, pupils hurled bottles at them and beat drums on the school compound as they in turn rallied around the principal. Ste Madeleine police confirmed that officers responded to reports that missiles were being thrown at teachers who were gathered on the pavement outside the school's gates. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Imbert: Petrotrin lost $4.2 billion in five years

Finance Minister Colm Imbert yesterday revealed that an undisclosed $4.2 billion deferred tax asset, which was not shown in Petrotrin’s accounts, could result in the State oil company recording audited losses to the tune of $4.5 billion in 2016 rather than the previously disclosed estimate of $600 million. Imbert, who is also acting Energy Minister, made this revelation in a statement to the House of Representatives. He said on October 26, 2016, Petrotrin reported a net loss, after tax, of $533 million in its unaudited financials for the year ending September 30, 2016. Prior to this, Imbert said, Petrotrin declared a total comprehensive loss of $998 million for 2015 and a total comprehensive loss of $341 million for 2014. “When added, this equates to published losses of $1.9 billion over the last three years,” Imbert said. Read more here

$2.5B backpay by March 31

Monies will be available by March 31 to settle outstanding arrears for public servants who are owed approximately $2.5 billion, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has indicated. Rowley revealed this in Parliament yesterday, replying to Opposition questions on when the arrears would be settled. He said the outstanding total owed is $2.5 billion approximately, as some public servants had been paid earlier. Rowley said the Finance Minister had given a commitment to find the monies to pay the rest “in an environment where there are significant challenges.” Read more here

Garcia: I am not yet aware of protest at St Madeleine School

Around 4 p.m. yesterday Education Minister Anthony Garcia was not yet aware of a situation in which pupils pelted teachers who were protesting against St Madeleine Secondary School principal Joy Arjoon-Singh on the pavement outside the school. At the same time, pupils from the music department were beating drums in support of the principal. The incident took place around 11.30 a.m. Chief Education Officer (CEO) Harrilal Seecharan however said that sort of behaviour “is not acceptable” when a specific question was asked about the protest by a reporter. Both Garcia and Seecharan were speaking at a media conference to update the media on the school at the Education Ministry headquarters, St Vincent Street, Port of Spain. Read more here

 

 

BUSINESS

Dookeran recommends public-private partnerships to boost food production

Former finance minister Winston Dookeran has recommended public-private partnerships as well as open credit lines to boost food production and stimulate the economy. Dookeran’s comments were contained in a recent interview with the Latin America Advisor - a publication of the Inter- American Dialogue. He was asked about those areas in which Government should focus given the Barbados- based Caribbean Development Bank’s projection of 1.7 percent regional economic growth this year among its lending countries although this country’s petroleum-based economy is expected to continue to contract in 2017. “The ‘magic’ of steady macroeconomic metrics is losing its potency in this hydrocarbon-rich economy. Getting the balance sheet right in a period of the global financial crisis of yesteryear and the more recent price slump of oil and gas prices have stalled the growth momentum,” Dookeran said. Read more here

Dear Madam Minister

In a letter dated March 1 (Ash Wednesday), Minister of Labour, Jennifer Baptiste-Primus was informed in no uncertain terms, that Industrial Plant Service Ltd (IPSL), the company that operates the five methanol plants at the Point Lisas Industrial Estate for Methanol Holdings (Trinidad) Ltd, intended to mothball two of the methanol plants and send home over 100 employees, who were deemed “aggregate surplus.” In a letter whose subject was: “Formal notice pursuant to Section 4 (1) of the Retrenchment and Severance Benefits Act 1985,” IPSL’s corporate services manager Collis Williams told Baptiste-Primus: “On account of the impending closure of operations of two of our client’s plants, 100 employees of our current permanent workforce of 840 locals will be made redundant with effect from circa April 21, 2017.” The letter to Minister Baptiste-Primus came two days before IPSL informed its employees at a meeting on Friday that the two plants would be closed and 100 workers severed. Read more here

TCL warns of sluggish market 

Trinidad Cement Ltd (TCL) says it expects construction activity will remain sluggish during the coming year, particularly in Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados, in the face of “increasingly aggressive competition in the region”. In its audited financial report for the 12 months ending December 2016, TCL, which is the subject of a takeover by the Mexican-based cement giant, CEMEX, said it remains confident the restructuring initiatives completed so far positions the Group on the path for creation of long-term value to all the stakeholders. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

OECS member states to strengthen regional CBI programmes

St Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris, outgoing chairman of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Authority, said that, although regional integration is a work in progress, the member states and the OECS Commission continue to work hand in hand on a number of important matters relevant to each member, and one in particular is the citizenship by investment (CBI) programmes. He said that some of the matters are very “involved and complex”, while making reference to the CBI programmes that currently exist in five of the six independent member states within the OECS. “We have added new issues to the plate of the Commission in that the Commission has become a bit more frontally involved on issues to do with the CBI programmes because they are critical to the economic framework which we have set ourselves,” Harris said, adding that member states who are interested in CBI, as well as Dr Didacus Jules, director-general of the OECS Commission, recently met in caucus in St Kitts during the 64th meeting of the OECS Authority to discuss the matter further. Read more here

'I Wanted To Do Something'

It is not very often that one is forced to live with the memory of watching the lives of five of your family members being taken, execution style. Yet, this is the burden being carried by 69-year-old Marvin Bloomfield since gunmen invaded his home in March Town, Hanover on the night of October 8, 2015, and killed his wife Lynette, son Mark, daughter Kerian, grandchildren Aliah and Davion Mahabee, and close relative, 29-year-old Brian Mangaroo. Standing with his hands akimbo, Bloomfield stared towards the graves, "It would be 32 years today. It would be 32 years," he whispered, as if he was speaking to someone in the empty space before him. Then, as if suddenly remembering that other persons were standing with him, he turned to the Gleaner team and made a profound revelation. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Kim Jong-nam death: Malaysia and N Korea in tit-for-tat exit bans

North Korea and Malaysia have banned each other's citizens from leaving their countries, in a growing row over the killing of Kim Jong-nam. The extraordinary tit-for-tat actions come amid North Korean fury at Malaysia's ongoing investigation into his death at a Kuala Lumpur airport. The North Korean leader's half-brother was killed with a potent nerve agent. Malaysia has not directly blamed the North for this, but there is widespread suspicion Pyongyang was responsible. North Korea has fiercely denied any accusations of culpability and the row over the killing - and who has the right to claim Mr Kim's body - has rapidly escalated over the past two weeks. Both Malaysia and North Korea have already expelled each other's ambassadors. Read more here

Missile defense system that China opposes arrives in South Korea

The first pieces of a US-built missile defense system designed to mitigate the threat of North Korean missiles arrived at the Osan Air Base in South Korea Monday night, according to the US military. The announcement comes just a day after North Korea test-fired four ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea. China has voiced opposition to the proposed placement of the military hardware known as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, which it sees as a threat to its own security. Read more here

7th March 2017

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