Daily Brief - Wednesday 10th May, 2017

NEWS

CJ was misled

Marcia Ayers-Caesar now stands accused of misleading Chief Justice Ivor Archie and members of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission (JLSC) and will not be returning to the bench of the Magistrates’ Court any time soon. Breaking its silence on the raging controversy yesterday, the JLSC, which is headed by Archie, admitted Ayers-Caesar provided the JLSC with a list of outstanding matters. However, it said it was only after the prisoners’ riot at the Port-of-Spain Magistrates’ Court that an audit conducted by the Acting Chief Magistrate determined that contrary to what they were told by Ayers-Caesar, she actually had over 50 matters outstanding. Read more here

Govt Campus Plaza opens

Thirteen years after construction began, the multi-billion dollar Government Campus Plaza (GCP) on Richmond Street in Port-of-Spain was formally opened. Work started in 2004 and was scheduled for completion in 2010. Declaring the GCP opened in its auditorium, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said, “What we expect today, is that as Government moves into one and a half million square feet of first class office space, there would be significant reduction of rental of private sector premises.” The plaza, he continued, is an extremely costly piece of infrastructure and Government would be the first to acknowledge there was underestimation of costs and significant management issues . Read more here

Two drug suspects gunned down, pundit found dead at home

The wounded man was rushed to the Eric Williams Medical Scien­ces Complex where he later died. Police said Cedeno was known to them on several drug-related enquiries and they were looking into several leads, including the killing being drug-related.  Speaking to the media yesterday at the Forensic Science Centre in Federation Park, relatives acknow­ledged Cedeno had a drug problem.  “He was on drugs for quite a few years. Cocaine I believe.... He was living with some family but then his mother died from cancer, and he fell off the wagon again. Like it was the only way he knew how to deal with the pain,” a relative said. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Turn down the volume

Senate President Christine Kangaloo was forced to suspend yesterday’s Senate sitting briefly, after Opposition Senator Wade Mark seemingly defied three rulings by her about shouting during debate on a motion to approve the salaries and allowances of members of the Board of the Office of Procurement Regulation (OPR). Mark’s outbursts came were in response to statements by Finance Minister Colm Imbert that the former People’s Partnership (PP) government was interfering in the selection of the procurement regulator before it demitted office in September 2015. Mark countered that the ruling People’s National Movement (PNM) was trying to “hijack the procurement process” and he had a document to prove this. Read more here

Mid-year review brings new fuel subsidy jitters

Further clarifications on Government’s Property Tax are expected to be among Finance Minister Colm Imbert’s mid- year review and his update on the economy being delivered today in Parliament. The review - scheduled for 1.30 pm - is also expected to provide answers to a number of queries on Government’s economic management which the Opposition sought answers for last Friday. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Bartlett questions Massy buyout

President of the San Fernando Business Association (SBA) Daphne Bartlett is questioning the rationale behind majority state-owned enterprise, TSTT’s share purchase agreement (SPA) to buy 100 percent of the shares of Massy Communications Ltd for $255 million. In a telephone interview yesterday, Bartlett also noted that her expectations for the mid-year budget review, which is due to be presented today in the House of Representatives by Finance Minister Colm Imbert, was non-existent as nothing new could be expected from the Ministry of Finance. Read more here

SM Jaleel wins CCJ tax case against Guyana

Local beverage manufacturer SM Jaleel Company Limited has won its lawsuit against the Government of Guyana over that country’s imposition of an environmental tax applied to products packaged using non-recyclable material imported into Guyana. Delivering a judgement at its headquarters in Port-of-Spain yesterday afternoon, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) ruled that the tax (GUY$10 or TT0.33 per unit) was illegal and contrary to the principles of the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME) as it was only applied to goods imported into that country and not to similar items produced by its local manufacturers. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Same-sex couples urged to test Cayman Islands marriage law

A legal expert is urging same-sex Caymanian couples who want to get married to put the local legislation to the test as he believes there is no lawful prohibition to same-sex marriages in either the Constitution or the Marriage Law. Dr Leo Raznovich, a former law school professor, said members of the LGBT community in Cayman should stand up for their rights and test the legislation because the language of the law doesn’t really ban gay marriage. He is also offering to help couples who are willing to give it a try. His suggestion comes in the wake of a landmark ruling in Bermuda that has paved the way for same-sex marriage there. Read more here

OECS trade mission holds consultations in member states

Intra-regional and international trade potential has been strengthened following a recent Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) trade mission held in St Lucia, Martinique and Dominica from April 24-28, 2017. Minister of agriculture for St Vincent and the Grenadines, Saboto Caesar, led the delegation and was accompanied by Jai Rampersad, in charge of purchasing; as well as Norman Pemberton, in charge of logistics. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Firing James Comey is Donald Trump's most unpredictable and dangerous move yet

James Comey found out he had been fired as FBI director just like the rest of us: By watching it on television. The move, announced late Tuesday via a letter sent from President Donald Trump to Comey, marked the most unpredictable moment of a presidency that through its first 100-plus days has been the least orthodox in memory. It also ramped up criticism of Trump's judgments -- Comey was tasked with leading the investigation into Russia's meddling into the 2016 campaign and what, if any, collusion had occurred between Trump campaign operatives and Russian intelligence officials -- and left official Washington reeling over a move considered unthinkable as recently as this week. Read more here

South Korea's Moon Jae-in sworn in vowing to address North

South Korea's new President Moon Jae-in has been sworn in, vowing to address the economy and relations with the North in his first speech as president. He said that he would even be willing to visit Pyongyang under the right circumstances. Mr Moon took his oath of office in Seoul's National Assembly building a day after his decisive win. The former human rights lawyer and son of North Korean refugees is known for his liberal views. Read more here

10th May 2017

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