Daily Brief - Wednesday 15th February, 2017

NEWS

Sour Note

Incensed that only one member of its cast was picked to be among 42 calypsonians to compete at the Calypso Fiesta and a place in the National Calypso Monarch grand finals, president of the Kalypso Revue Eric “Pink Panther” Taylor said the tent would quit being a member of Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (TUCO), as of last night. He said the Revue will form a body that can provide legitimate and unbiased representation to the nation’s calypsonians. Saying it was hard to stomach the fact that only one of its cast member Hollis ‘Chalkdust’ Liverpool was selected by TUCO to compete in Calypso Fiesta, when Revue boasts several past Calypso monarchs and even more promising new talent, Taylor accused TUCO of major victimisation and discrimination against the tent. “For the first time in our 54- year history, we were only able to secure one spot at the national semi-finals to be held on February 18, at Skinner Park,” Taylor complained yesterday. “This is not withstanding that we have had excellent reviews from patrons who have attended the tent so far.” Semi-finalists were chosen as the executive of TUCO visited each calypso tent during the Carnival Season and decided who qualified for the Calypso Fiesta, which is the next step for the coveted crown of Calypso Monarch held during Dimanche Gras, Carnival Sunday night. Read more here

Time to control this behaviour

Social media users who post gory and irresponsible videos, comments and photographs to create sensation and instil fear and panic among T&T citizens beware! Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi will tomorrow take to Cabinet an amended version of the Cybercrime Bill to deal with reckless users who are now out of control in sharing unverified information. Once Cabinet gives the all clear, Al-Rawi says the bill will stop the abusers of social media in their tracks. Al-Rawi revealed his plan yesterday as he responded to a question from a member of the public on how the Government intends to treat with social media users who “plaster things” on Facebook, many of which are untrue. Read more here

DPP considers charges against MovieTowne suspect

The 24-year-old man arrested in connection with the murder of Jamilia DeReveneaux remains in custody while the Director of Public Prosecutions considers the charges against him. DeRevenaux, was laid to rest on Monday following a funeral ceremony at the St Martin de Porres Church in Gonzales. On Sunday, February 5, DeRevenaux was at her workplace, at Mandieros' Peri Peri Grill in MovieTowne, Invaders Bay, Port of Spain, when she got a cell phone call at around 8.15 p.m. a man known to her. She  went to the underground car park. Read more here

 

POLITICS

PM: Canadians looking for TT drivers

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said on Monday that Canadian recruitment firm Hire Pro Drivers will be in this country soon for discussions with Government. Responding to a question from Couva South MP Rudy Indarsingh, during sitting of the House of Representatives, Rowley said, “The company is due here in short order for discussions and possibly signing an agreement.” Rowley said he was unaware of any commitment made by Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste- Primus that 35,000 locals would get employment in Canada through this company. Rowley said he was unaware of allegations by Indarsingh that Hire Pro was under investigation in the Canadian province of British Columbia with respect to its offshore recruitment processes. Read more here

Dhanayshar blanked

Despite an appeal by Independent Senator Dhanayshar Mahabir in the Senate yesterday, he failed to get the required support for his motion to start the process for certain Senators “without portfolio” to benefit from a pension in the future. When the vote was taken, Government, Opposition and even Independent Senator Ian Roach - who sits next to Mahabir - did not support the motion. Mahabir’s motion called for the Legislative Retirement Allowances Act to be amended to allow for all Senators to get a pension after a qualifying period. Under the existing arrangements, certain Senators “without portfolio” do not get a pension. Read more here

No Vote For UNC

 Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi has made it clear the Government would not be hampered by the Opposition’s unwillingness to support certain pieces of legislation and he intends to eliminate the need for three-fifths majority support. Speaking yesterday at a conference hosted by the Association of Real Estate Agents (AREA) at the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs in Port of Spain, Al-Rawi said most of the legislation he intends to bring to Parliament have been fashioned in a way that eliminates the need for a three-fifths majority. This would allow laws to be passed without Opposition support. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Petrotrin, Suriname oil sign MOU

State-owned oil company Petrotrin and Suriname’s state-owned oil company Staatsolie, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) establishing a formal framework for mutual cooperation between both companies on commercial and technical fronts. In a media release, Petrotrin stated that the MOU which was signed at Pointe-a- Pierre by executives representing both companies, focused on both the “upstream and downstream arms of the crude oil value chain.” “Upstream, Staatsolie has several near shore blocks ranging from exploration through appraisal and development, for which opportunities for partnering with Petrotrin exist. The Company is also interested in applying enhanced oil recovery (EOR) strategies in onshore blocks to improve oil recovery and this represents another area where Petrotrin will share its experience and expertise,” Petrotrin stated. Read more here

Govt bond oversubscribed

The auction by the Government of T&T for a $1 billion bond was oversubscribed, with the total bids received amounting to $1.41 billion, according to a notice on the Central Bank’s website yesterday. The bond, which was issued on Tuesday, is for eight years and has an annual, fixed-rate coupon of 4.1 per cent. The information memorandum issued by the Central Bank on the bond stated that it “is intended to assist in financing the government’s recurrent expenditure,” meaning that the government is borrowing money in order to meet its monthly commitments of wages and transfers and subsidies. Read more here

We jammin' still

A cursory look at Carnival-related activities this year shows that while there is some indication of reduced spending, overall, it's business almost as usual. Some prestigious fetes have seen fewer patrons, a few costumed bands admit to lower numbers, and many of the signature shows have scaled back on expectations-ticket prices for last Sunday's Panorama semi-finals, for example, were reduced. However, Carnival lovers continue to patronise the big fetes, calypso extravaganzas and seasonal comedy festivals in numbers good enough to keep performers and promoters smiling. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Decertify Them! - Labour Boss Calls For Stiff Penalties For Non-Compliant Trade Unions

Labour unions that have enjoyed many decades of lax oversight are being called out by one of their own. Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU) president, Senator Kavan Gayle, is suggesting that unions that fail to comply with accountability regulations should be decertified. As a sign of just how fed-up the BITU boss is with the non-compliance issue, he thinks there ought to be a law. "One thing that is not in the legislation that could have led to that level of accountability is decertifi-cation of a trade union if it is not performing," he told colleagues in a recent discussion on the relevance of labour unions in Jamaica during a Fourth Floor Forum at The Gleaner's North Street, Kingston, offices. Read more here

Haiti senate president denies complicity in arrest and deportation of fellow senator

Youri Latortue, the president of the Haitian senate, has rejected allegations of his participation in a conspiracy that led to the extradition of fellow senator Guy Philippe, who was arrested on January 5 and deported to the United States to face charges ranging from the importation of narcotics to money laundering. According to US law enforcement sources, Philippe’s arrest was put in motion following an approach made to the US government by one of his opponents in the recent elections, and orchestrated by the US State Department in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Trump aides were in constant touch with senior Russian officials during campaign

High-level advisers close to then-presidential nominee Donald Trump were in constant communication during the campaign with Russians known to US intelligence, multiple current and former intelligence, law enforcement and administration officials tell CNN. President-elect Trump and then-President Barack Obama were both briefed on details of the extensive communications between suspected Russian operatives and people associated with the Trump campaign and the Trump business, according to US officials familiar with the matter. Read more here

Kim Jong-nam death: Malaysia police hold female suspect

A female suspect has been arrested in Malaysia in connection with the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's half-brother. Local police said that the woman was arrested at the airport in the capital Kuala Lumpur where Kim Jong-nam was targeted in an apparent poisoning on Monday. She was in possession of a Vietnamese travel document. Malaysian police say they are looking for "a few" other suspects. The suspect was identified from CCTV footage taken at the airport and was alone, a police statement said, naming her as Doan Thi Huong, 28. Images taken from CCTV circulating in the media have focused on two women seen alongside Mr Kim, who were later seen leaving the scene in a taxi. An image broadcast in South Korea and Malaysia showed a woman, said to be one of the suspects, wearing a white T-shirt with the letters "LOL" written on the front. Read more here

15th February 2017

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