Daily Brief - Wednesday 18th January, 2017

NEWS

5 Murders in 10 Hours

The work of demons in human form. This was how relatives described the execution-styled murders of a man and his common-law wife who were shot in their heads as they slept on a bed in their Guapo home during the early morning hours yesterday. The victims, Luenda Anthony, 29, a mother of one and Rickey Mohammed, 40, a father of three, were shot once and twice to the head respectively as they lay side by side on their bed in their Limefield Road, Cochrane Village home. The couple was among five persons murdered between Monday and yesterday, in a 12-hour span, which sent the country’s murder toll to 27 in the first 17 days of this year. Anthony was a security officer. Read more here

Couple Murdered In Bed

To the murderers who barged into the home of Luenda Anthony and her boyfriend, Rickey Mohammed, they should seek God’s forgiveness as there will be none coming from Anthony’s mother Nicole Anthony. Angered and saddened over the brazen deaths, Nicole vowed that retribution would be hers after seeing Anthony’s bloodied body on a bed and Mohammed dying next to her. “You all just pray and ask God for forgiveness because it is only He who will forgive you. I am not forgiving you all,” Nicole said as she sat outside their Cochrane Village, Guapo home. Up to midday yesterday, blood remained on the sheets and the walls of the bedroom where the couple slept. Around 12.15 am, gunmen broke down the door at the wooden house and shot Anthony, 29, once in the head and Mohammed, 39, twice in his head. Read more here

Two killed by police after chase, including teenage boy

A 17-year-old boy was among two people killed on Monday night by police officers of the North Eastern Division.  Police said around 8 p.m., officers entered Ramkissoon Trace, off Old San Juan Road, on an exercise. While there, the officers said they had cause to chase two individuals who ran away when they saw the police. The chase led officers to a bushy area off the road where they said they were confronted by the men who had handguns. The officers opened fire on the two men, hitting them several times about their bodies. They took the wounded men to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope, where they both died. The men were identified as Jamal Mathias, 17, and Kerron Mungroo, 23. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Senate Prez Refuses Murder Debate

Senate President Christine Kangaloo yesterday turned down a request by an Opposition Senator who sought leave to have crime, particularly murders, debated in the Upper House as a matter of definite, urgent public importance. Opposition Senator Gerald Ramdeen said that predators, psychopaths, socio paths and gangsters are on the loose and threatening the lives of citizens of TT. He made this declaration as he attempted to raise the issue of murders, especially the murder of youths as a matter of definite, urgent public importance in the Senate. Charging that the Government is oblivious to the rising fear and despair of the population to the levels of crime, Ramdeen said, “Our cities towns and villages are now under attack by predators, psychopaths, socio paths and gangs who are daily becoming bold in their activities.” Read more here

Defer debate on marriage laws

Opposition Senator Wade Mark yesterday called on Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi to defer the Miscellaneous Provisions (Marriage) Bill 2016 to allow civil society groups and religious bodies to give their views on amendments to the legislation. Mark said that even though the bill was being debated in the Senate, the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha and other religious groups were not consulted and “people were now threatening to take this matter to court.” Having examined the bill, Mark said the United National Congress (UNC) had issue with the $50,000 fine and seven year imprisonment proposed in the bill to be “draconian, oppressive and excessive.” Read more here

Baptiste-Primus: ‘Hardback men’ in favour of child brides

Government Minister Jennifer Baptiste-Primus said yesterday that she would not wish for her grandchildren to be married at the age of 12, as she championed the Government’s move to end child marriages in this country. Baptiste-Primus was speaking at the Senate sitting, in her contribution to the debate on the amendment to the Marriage Bill, which seeks to raise the legal age of marriage to 18. Noting that she has children and grandchildren, Baptiste-Primus said: “I do not wish for my child to be married at age 12, I do not wish for my grandchildren to be married at age 12 because I want them to have a future and getting married at such a young age cuts their future, brings it to an abrupt end.” She questioned the calls made by religious leaders for the laws to remain the same as she asked, where were the female voices. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Christie Sings Juniper’s Praises

Regional President of BP Trinidad and Tobago (bpTT) Norman Christie is describing the multi-billion dollar Juniper project as, “an example of collaboration on a truly grand and global scale”. Such collaboration involved both local and international companies including a Trinidad fabrication company and a French engineering company. Christie sang Juniper’s praise while addressing the completion of the fabrication of the topside of the Juniper offshore platform at the Trinidad Offshore Fabricators (TOFCO) Yard, Labidco Industrial Estate, La Brea on Sunday. The platform is bpTT’s 14th locally fabricated offshore installation. He said the entire Juniper project which would include the drilling programme and sub sea infrastructure, would cost approximately US$2 billion. Read more here

$150m cineplex opens at C3 Centre

Someone who looked a lot like outgoing US President Barack Obama made a surprise appearance at the opening of the $150 million New York-themed MovieTowne cineplex in San Fernando on Monday night. Just before his dramatic arrival, a news bulletin flashed across a screen announcing that Obama was a surprise visit to T&T. Then master of ceremonies Natasha Jones announced a special guest. Surrounded by bodyguards, famed Obama impersonator Reggie Brown made his way to the podium, smiling and waving at guest. In remarks at the event at C3 Centre, Corinth Road, Brown had the audience laughing as he apologised for the absence of his wife, Michelle, and took jabs at president-elect Donald Trump. Read more here

‘Make Petrotrin an essential service, cut staff’

Make State oil company Petrotrin an essential service, expedite the plan to power vehicles with compressed natural gas (CNG), allow competition in fuel supply, and cut staff. These were some of the solutions financial consultant and former Citibank vice president Ved Seereeram and University of the West Indies (The UWI) financial economics lecturer Vaalmikki Arjoon proposed when asked by email on January 5 and 12 about solutions to the ongoing Petrotrin situation and the way forward. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Former St Kitts-Nevis ministers called on to return millions to the treasury

Former St Kitts and Nevis ministers in the Dr Denzil Douglas-led Labour/NRP administration are being called upon to return millions of dollars to the country’s treasury. The renewed call has arisen as the intensity of debate increases on the streets and in traditional and social media regarding the conduct of government ministers with regard to their private business dealings and issues of conflict of Interest, Times Caribbean reported. Specific mention has been made of Douglas and former minister, now opposition MP Marcella Liburd and Nigel Carty. According to one blogger the former prime minister and now opposition leader Dr Denzil Douglas has to date acquired over $1million in rent from the Taiwanese government for the property that houses the official Taiwanese ambassador’s residence and a property in which Douglas has a partial beneficial if not significant or total interest. Read more here

Bushing Saga Deepens - Contractors Could Be Summoned Before Parliament

The saga involving the controversial bush-clearing work has taken another turn because of statements contradicting E.G. Hunter, the chief executive officer of the National Works Agency (NWA). As a result, consideration is now being given to having the contractors appear before a parliamentary committee. Added to that, yesterday Prime Minister Andrew Holness could not provide members of parliament (MPs) with a final figure for the project, whose original budget of $606 million will be increasing. He said next week was the earliest he could furnish answers. Addressing yesterday's sitting of the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC), Audrey Sewell, permanent secretary in the economic growth and job creation ministry, under which NWA falls, contradicted Hunter, who on multiple occasions said the agency acted solely on the instructions of the Cabinet, including the specific contractors, to engage. In the process, she answered a question opposition members on two parliamentary committees have been asking since the programme was launched on November 18 - ten days before the local government elections. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Mosul battle: Iraqi army retakes city's east from Islamic State

The Iraqi army says it has recaptured all of eastern Mosul from so-called Islamic State (IS). Counter-terror chief Talib Shaghati told reporters the army had taken control of the eastern bank of the Tigris river, which divides the city. Government forces have made swift advances through eastern Mosul since launching their latest offensive there last month. Some IS fighters are reportedly still holed up in north-eastern districts. Read more here

Obama commutes sentence of Chelsea Manning

President Barack Obama on Tuesday overruled his secretary of defense to commute the sentence of former Army soldier Chelsea Manning, who was convicted of stealing and disseminating 750,000 pages of documents and videos to WikiLeaks. The decision -- which a senior defense official told CNN was made over the objections of Secretary of Defense Ash Carter -- immediately touched off a controversy in the closing days of the Obama administration. A former intelligence official described being "shocked" to learn of Obama's decision, adding that the "entire intelligence community is deflated by this inexplicable use of executive power." The official said the move was "deeply hypocritical given Obama's denunciation of WikiLeaks' role in the hacking of the (Democratic National Committee)." Read more here

 

18th January 2017

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