Daily Brief - Wednesday 21st December, 2016

NEWS

There is a God

This was the view of Ag Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) and Head of the Homicide Investigations Bureau Wayne Dick on the successful completion of investigations into the murder of Republic Bank employee Shannon Banfield which ended in a man being charged for her murder and taken to court yesterday.  At a press conference convened at Police Administration Building in Port-of-Spain, Ag DCP Dick confirmed that Dale Seecharan, an employee of IAM & Co Limited was re-arrested and formally charged for 20-year-old Banfield’s murder. An autopsy showed that the young woman was smothered.  “It was a very painstaking investigation that entailed alot of patience and commitment from members of the Homicide Investigations Bureau supported by members of the Special Branch, Criminal Gang and Intelligence Unit, Port-of-Spain Task Force and the Criminal Records Office, which led to the arrest of one Dale Seecharan, who was then an employee at IAM and Company Limited, located at Charlottte Street in Port-of-Spain,” Ag DCP Dick stated.  Read more here

Fire victims get new home

With a team of 14 men working around the clock, the Seecharan family is hoping their new home would be completed before Christmas Day. The family lost their home and all of their belongings to a fire on December 11. Through the generosity of the Ricky Raghunanan Group of Companies, construction on their new home has already started at Claxton Bay. The fire left Robin Seecharan, 59, a truck driver, his wife Raquel Babwah, 38, a housewife and their seven children homeless. Read more here

Kicker: Security beefed up at Golden Grove

Security arrangements were being put in place yesterday evening at the Golden Grove prison in Arouca to accommodate Dale Seecharan, the man accused of murdering bank employee Shannon Banfied two weeks ago. A senior officer at the prison told the Express nothing was being left to chance when it came to Seecharan’s safety, and that he may be kept ­separate from other prisoners. This was so, given that there is the risk of him being harmed by other inmates. “It is not special treatment, but we have to ensure the safety of all prisoners,” said the officer. Earlier in the day, Seecharan, 38, appeared before Chief Magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar in the Port of Spain Court, charged with murdering the 20-year-old woman. Her body was found under some boxes in the warehouse of popular store IAM and Company on Charlotte Street in the heart of the capital city, where Seecharan was an employee. She had been missing for three days before the discovery. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Colm: Tax doesn’t hurt growth

In his wind-up of the Finance (Number 3) Bill 2016 in the Senate on Monday night, Finance Minister Colm Imbert stoutly rejected the view of some Senators that taxes act to impede economic growth. In support of his argument, Imbert cited a 2012 study by Ethan Caplin of the University of Maryland titled, “Does taxing the wealthy hurt growth?”. He said that in the United States from 1930 to 2012 the study noted a direct correlation between the top marginal taxrate and economic growth. “In the US, as the top marginal rate grew, growth grew. That is fact, not speculation,” Imbert said. The bill approved a new taxrate for million-dollar earnings by companies and individuals, the seven percent tax on online purchases and a rise in the ceiling of Government’s bond-issues from $300 million to $2 billion. Read more here

Govt cuts 2017 Carnival spending by 25 per cent

Government allocations for Carnival 2017 have suffered yet another cut. According to National Carnival Commission (NCC) chairman, Kenny de Silva, allocations for Carnival bodies have been cut by just under 25 per cent. This is a further reduction from the Government’s $270 million budgetary allocation for Carnival 2016. In 2015, the allocation for Carnival was $314 million. Culture, Arts and Community Development Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, responding to a question in the Senate on Monday, did not get a total overall figure but said Pan Trinbago will get some $23 million, the National Carnival Bandleaders Association (NCBA), around $9 million and the Government will give another $7,290,000 for groups facilitated by the NCC, like the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Association (Tuco). Read more here

PS in Ministry of Works suspended

The Public Service Commission (PSC) has suspended permanent secretary of the Ministry of Works, Clint Ramcharan, for failing to report to them that he had been convicted twice for drinking and driving under the influence of alcohol. The Express understands the PSC issued the letter of suspension to Ramcharan last Thursday when he reported for work. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Drilling company not paying rent

With the nation facing an extreme shortage of foreign exchange Congress of the People (COP) political leader Dr Anirudh Mahabir has alleged that government is not collecting forex from a multi-national drilling company which has several rigs “cold stacked” or parked in the Gulf of Paria. Mahabir said the drilling company had decided to use the Gulf of Paria to cold stack their rigs due to several factors including the area’s stability and its proximity to a number of oil producing regions. “When these massive expensive drilling rigs are not in use the owners usually they park them up in a place where there are no hurricanes big waves tsunamis and so they can park quietly and they can get rid of most of their staff ” Mahabir said. Read more here

Vendors complain about poor sales in Sando

Disappointed by poor sales, San Fernando vendors made an emotional appeal to newly appointed Mayor Junia Regrello to be allowed to ply their trades on the streets during the busy holiday season. Michael Sylvester, a vendor on High Street, San Fernando ,saw an opportunity to bring his concerns directly to the head when he saw Regrello and former Mayor, now Local Government Minister Kazim Hosein, walking down the street. “The vendors don’t mind contributing towards the (regional) corporation, but with a permit and a permanent spot. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

FBI said to be monitoring Caribbean entertainment events

A regional entertainment promotion agency recently came in for a surprise, when one major talent booking agency in the United States demanded that they make certain evidential disclosures required by the FBI pertaining to the origin of the funds that were deposited for the intended performance of a popular American R&B artiste. The artiste and a handful of his protégés were being booked for a planned event in The Bahamas, Barbados, Trinidad and Guyana for varying dates during April 2017. But the “origin of funds” request, which is said to have been listed in the agreement was initially ignored until FBI agents presumably made contact with the US booking agency. Read more here

Call For Better Loan Rates - Credit Bureau Exec Urges Banks To Incentivise Good Payment Behaviour

Jamaica's financial institutions are not moving fast enough to offer lower interest rates to customers with good credit reports, the head of one local credit bureau has charged. Instead, Craig Stephen, chief executive officer of CreditInfo Jamaica, said financial institutions, in the main, are using credit reports simply to approve or deny customers access to credit. "Right now, all they are using the [credit] bureaus to do is to qualify good people to say, 'All right, you are good, we can lend you; no, you are bad, we are not going to lend you,'" Stephen asserted. The result, he argued, was that persons with good credit reports are paying the same interest rates as persons with bad credit history. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Mexico explosion: At least 29 killed in fireworks blast

Explosions ripped through a fireworks market north of Mexico City on Tuesday, killing at least 29 people. There were reports from people in neighboring towns that they could feel the ground tremble beneath their feet as fireworks stalls exploded in Tultepec, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of Mexico City, sending huge plumes of smoke billowing up into the sky. Seventy-two people were injured, said Eruviel Avila, governor of the State of Mexico. Three minors are expected to be transferred to a hospital in Galveston, Texas, for treatment of extreme burns. Read more here

Obama bans oil drilling 'permanently' in millions of acres of ocean

Outgoing US President Barack Obama has permanently banned offshore oil and gas drilling in the "vast majority" of US-owned northern waters. Mr Obama designated areas in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans as "indefinitely off limits" to future leasing. The move is widely seen as an attempt to protect the region before Mr Obama leaves office in January. Supporters of president-elect Donald Trump could find it difficult to reverse the decision. Canada also committed to a similar measure in its own Arctic waters, in a joint announcement with Washington. Read more here

 

21st December 2016

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