Daily Brief - Wednesday 17th May, 2017

TTMA In the News

TTMA concerned about property tax

The Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers Association (TTMA) is calling on Government to extend the May 22 deadline for filing documents for property tax. An extension, the TTMA said, would allow greater discussion, resolution of ambiguities and understanding among relevant stakeholders. The TTMA is also recommending that Government consider creation of a sub-classification within the industrial property tier, for the manufacturing sector separate and apart from larger enterprises such as that which exists in the energy industry, and exempting plant and machinery from the property tax framework. Read more here

 

NEWS

Racial Dotishness

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley went on the war-path yesterday, training his guns on people who staged a protest last Friday outside the Couva Children’s Hospital which led to miles of traffic at the same time the grand opening of the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba was taking place with a T20 invitational cricket match. He also slammed as “racial dotishness”, those who raised their voices in opposition to calls by retired West Indies and TT batting star Brian Lara to have one of the stands in the Academy named in honour of his (Lara) personal friend, India’s retired batting icon Sachin Tendulkar. Speaking at the re-commissioning of the Pt Fortin Highway yesterday, Rowley thanked everyone who attended the long-awaited opening of the academy, praising them for not being “ridiculous” and “foolish”, as the protestors who he claimed, tried to sabotage that opening by staging their protest along the Solomon Hochoy Highway outside the Children’s Hospital. Read more here

Morvant residents in fiery protests

A fiery protest by Morvant residents yesterday created dangerous obstructions across the Lady Young Road, Lady Young Avenue, Coconut Drive, Seventh Avenue Malick and Second Caledonia. Eight residents were subsequently detained as police officers attempted to quell the protest and to allow the Fire Service to extinguish fires set during the protests. The roadways were eventually cleared by personnel from the San Juan/Laventille Regional Corporation. However, the protests, which began at 5 am, caused traffic gridlock for motorists attempting to enter and exit Morvant. As a result, part of the Priority Bus Route was opened to light motor vehicular traffic—from Abattoir Road to Morvant Junction. Read more here

Long lines at property tax offices

As the May 22 deadline approaches, citizens are joining long lines to submit property tax documents. Tobagonians were yesterday trying to file documents from as early as 6 a.m. outside the Ministry of Finance Valuation Division. The Express observed scores of residents outside the Valuation Office, uptown Scarborough, some sitting on the steps, waiting for the office to open at 8 a.m. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Shamfa dismisses Christlyn

Tourism Minister Shamfa Cudjoe yesterday rejected attempts by former justice minister Christlyn Moore to portray her as being extravagant. In her contribution to debate on the Finance Bill 2017 in the Senate Monday night, Moore claimed that a $59,000 cellphone bill over a four day period reflected wastefulness on Cudjoe’s part. However, Cudjoe who is also Tobago West MP, dismissed Moore’s allegations. “I assure you that I exercise fiscal prudence in all my affairs,” Cudjoe told Newsday. Read more here

Sinanan: Maracas upgrade to end by August

The Maracas Bay upgrade should be completed by the end of August and there are now options to eliminate the services of one of the Tobago cargo vessels, says Works Minister Rohan Sinanan. Sinanan gave the updates during the Senate’s debate of a variation motion. Debate which began at 1.30 pm on Monday ended at 2. 42 am yesterday. Giving updates on matters in his ministry, Sinanan said the Port Board had informed him earlier that night that they have options for his ministry to eliminate the services of one of the cargo vessels being used on the Tobago ferry service. Read more here

I Did Not Abuse Phone

Tourism Minister Shamfa Cudjoe yesterday justified the use of the roaming facility on her cellphone which resulted in the now controversial $59,059.20 bill. That justification was the need to maintain contact with the ministry. She expressed the view, however, that the $59,059.20 phone bill was “abnormally high”. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Info sessions on bank fees coming

A week after seven business chambers threatened to boycott the use of credit card payments, they have retracted the call, saying they achieved what they wanted by meeting with the Bankers Association of T&T (BATT.) President of the Couva/Point Lisas Chamber of Commerce, Liaquat Ali made the announcement on Monday after a meeting of the heads of the five of those seven chambers, including the Penal/Debe Chamber, the Chaguanas Chamber, the Greater Tunapuna Chamber, the Siparia Chamber and the San Fernando Business Association. The closed-door meeting lasted over two hours and took place at the Couva/Point Lisas Chamber headquarters, Camden Road, Couva yesterday. Read more here

Gloomy days ahead for T&T economy

Less than 24 hours after Finance Minister Colm Imbert delivered his 2017 Mid-Year Budget Review in which Government borrowings and the public sector debt loomed large, Express columnist Sir Ronald Sanders wrote an article titled “Debt danger for a generation”. Its contents were based on a study of several Caribbean countries that have huge debts. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Get It Right - Engineer Says Flawed Drainage Contributing To Severe Flooding

As the Jamaican Government rushes to carry out a comprehensive assessment of the significant impact of heavy rains on the country's infrastructure and the agricultural sector, Carvel Stewart, past president of the Incorporated Masterbuilders Association, said it was imperative that a national drainage solution be designed to address the longstanding problem of flooding. Stewart, a civil engineer, said he might be challenged by colleagues in the field, but noted that he was ready to defend his position that the country lacks a proper design for its drainage solutions. "What we have are individual areas trying to address the localised drainage requirement," he told The Gleaner yesterday. Read more here

St Kitts-Nevis passports deactivated for fugitive economic citizens

The government of St Kitts and Nevis has deactivated the passports belonging to the two economic citizens alleged to have defrauded state institutions in China out of US$100 million. “They don’t have a St Kitts and Nevis passport on which they could travel,” Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris disclosed during his press conference last week. “So they have no legitimate passport for St Kitts and Nevis,” Harris added. During a last week, Harris informed the public that the St Kitts-Nevis government is actively investigating the matter surrounding the economic citizens of Chinese descent, who applied for and obtained St Kitts and Nevis citizenship in 2013 during the tenure of the Denzil Douglas regime and have been living in the Federation since 2014. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Russia claims to have transcript of Trump meeting with Lavrov

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Russia is ready to provide US Congress with a transcript of the talks between President Donald Trump and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Speaking at a press conference, Putin said the transcript could be provided "if the US administration finds it appropriate." The Trump administration has come under fire over a meeting at the Oval Office with Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak last week, in which he shared security information that two sources described to CNN as classified. Read more here

Chelsea Manning: Wikileaks source freed from military prison

US soldier Chelsea Manning has been released from prison after serving seven years for leaking hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables and military files to Wikileaks. A US Army spokesperson confirmed to the BBC that she had left Fort Leavenworth military prison in Kansas. Most of what remained of her 35-year sentence was commuted by then-US President Barack Obama in January. Her lawyer earlier said she was excited but likely to be "anxious". "She's ready to finally be able to live as the woman that she is," Nancy Hollander told the BBC. The 29-year-old soldier was born Bradley Manning. A day after she was sentenced to 35 years in prison in 2013, Manning said she had felt female since childhood and wanted to live as a woman called Chelsea. Read more here

17th May 2017

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