Daily Brief - Wednesday 12th March, 2017

NEWS

Army recruits on rape charge

Five officer cadets of the TT Regiment appeared in court yesterday charged with the rape of one of their colleagues last year. The five - Michael Esdelle, Reinalo Cozier, Kendell Caton, Gabriel Joseph and Aleem Khan - were each granted $100,000 bail with their parents standing as surety. They appeared before deputy Chief Magistrate Nanette Forde- John in the Seventh Magistrates’ Court in Port-of-Spain. The five, who are in their early 20s, were remanded overnight to the Regiment barracks at Teteron, Chaguaramas until they access bail today. Read more here

Suspects released in Melissa’s murder

The two suspects who were held for the murder of Melissa Mohammed-Ramkissoon were released yesterday. Police said the instructions to release the men came from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. However, police said investigations are ongoing and they are awaiting results of forensic analysis, which would be beneficial to their case. The men are both relatives of Mohammed-Ramkissoon. Mohammed-Ramkissoon, 33, of Cedar Hill, Claxton Bay was pronounced dead in the parking lot of the Chaguanas Police Station on April 4. Read more here

He loved her to the end

A 90-year-old man fulfilled his promise to his beloved wife of 67 years when they died just hours apart at their home in Williamsville, near Princes Town, at the weekend. Ramnarace Ramsamooj never wanted to be apart from his wife and had promised to protect her until the end. The 85-year-old woman suffered with Alzheimer’s and had forgotten her husband. But his love for her never faded, as he would sit at her bedside and sing hymns.And when she peacefully passed away at the family’s home last Saturday, Ramsamooj hugged his wife and whispered in her ear that he would join her soon. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Kamla wrote Health Minister on Shannen

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar wrote to Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh, appealing for help for little Shannen Luke on April 4. Persad-Bissessar wrote on behalf of Shannen’s parents, informing Deyal­singh she was diagnosed with “beta thalassaemia major” at the age of nine months. She pointed out Shannen’s parents tried unsuccessfully to obtain a form from the Children’s Life Fund and also that incorrect information was provided to them.
However, she stated that despite this, a successfully completed application was accepted on April 4 by one Rafeal Chan, a data entry clerk at the unit. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

No fundamental change after Brexit

An assurance from the European Union (EU) that there will be no fundamental change in its relations with the region following the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the union, commonly referred to as Brexit. The comment from Luca Pierantoni, First Secretary and Head of the Regional Cooperation and Trade Section of the Delegation of the European Union to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean States and CARICOM/CARIFORUM (CARICOM and the Dominican Republic). Pierantoni said it was not possible to say how BREXIT will affect the region because the exit strategy has not yet been negotiated. In an interview with journalists following the opening of a meeting of CARIFORUM members of the CARIFORUM- EU Consultative Committee (CCC) of the Economic Partnership Agreement taking place yesterday and today at the Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre, Pierantoni said that working out the exit strategy will take “a couple of years”.  Read more here

Sandals discussions begin

The government officially began discussions with the Sandals group in Tobago yesterday. At the post-Cabinet news conference on March 16, Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, Stuart Young, announced that the government would officially begin discussions with Sandals on April 11 (yesterday). At the news conference, Young said that among the areas for discussion would be the development of agriculture on the island to serve the hotel development, Sandals assistance in training at the hospitality school and the specific terms and conditions of the contract with respect to the contract that will be negotiated between the overnment and Sandals. Read more here

At a time we can ill-afford it

The decision by bpTT to have the platform for its Angelin project fabricated outside of Trinidad and Tobago is a blow to the services sub-sector of this country’s energy industries. It means the loss of hundreds of millions of US dollars and several hundred well-paid jobs at a time when we can ill-afford both. Announcing that the platform will not be constructed at La Brea, where Trinidad Offshore Fabricators (Tofco) has, for more than a decade, built deck, jacket and subsea components of many of the oil- and gas-producing platforms operating offshore T&T, bpTT cited “project timelines and other competitiveness factors” as reasons for relocating fabrication of the Angelin platform, more than likely to the USA. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

St Lucia police said to be still committing human rights abuses

A former Saint Lucia government minister claimed last week that officers of the Royal St Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) are still engaged in human rights abuses, despite the fact that in 2013 the United States imposed sanctions against the island’s security forces following a number of unresolved extrajudicial killings by the police. Richard Frederick, former elected member of parliament for Castries Central and an outspoken critic of the current government, stated on his weekly television programme that, not only did Yann Gustave, a corporal with the RSLPF, wager $500 with another police officer that Frederick would be arrested, but his arrest and prosecution was specifically discussed at a regular meeting between the commissioner of police, the director of public prosecutions (DPP) and the minister of national security. Read more here

Powerful Interest Groups Welcome Property Tax Changes, PNP Rejects Revision

The powerful interest groups that led public calls for the Government to review the revised property tax regime implemented on April 1 are expressing satisfaction with the changes announced yesterday, which will see a fall in rates and the level of increases. The Andrew Holness administration has been under pressure from the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), Jamaica Manufacturers' Association (JMA) and the Realtors' Association of Jamaica, along with farmers and fixed-income earners such as pensioners to re-examine the regime that saw increases, for some more than 1,000 per cent, in property tax. Finance Minister Audley Shaw, who initially said there would be no rollback of any of the tax measures he announced on March 9, told the House of Representatives that the Government has heard the "cries" and "cannot ignore" them. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Donald Trump's on-the-job training

The Trump White House is finding out that running the world is even more complicated than trying to pass health care reform. The administration is struggling to frame and explain a coherent foreign policy response to two related crises -- the fallout from chemical weapons attacks in Syria and rapidly deteriorating relations with Russia. The intractable problems would challenge any new White House. But the Trump team seems to be exacerbating its learning curve by failing to come up with unified approaches and rhetoric among top officials. And it's reeling from a series of missteps, including a Holocaust-related gaffe Tuesday by White House spokesman Sean Spicer. Read more here

Borussia Dortmund attack: Police investigate Islamist link

German police are investigating a possible Islamic extremist link to the bombing of the Borussia Dortmund football team's bus, German media say. A letter found near the scene cites the Berlin Christmas market attack and military operations in Syria. It is not yet clear if the letter is genuine. Meanwhile, German federal prosecutors, who normally lead investigations related to terrrorism, are taking over the probe. German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung said the letter, beginning with the phrase "in the name of Allah", mentioned Germany's use of Tornado jets in the coalition forces fighting so-called Islamic State (IS). IS said it carried out the attack on a Christmas market in Berlin. Read more here

12th April 2017

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