Daily Brief - Wednesday 2nd August, 2017

NEWS

Change how we teach African history

Emancipation Day is not about dressing up for one day, but living freedom in one’s heart. However it is difficult to find that inner freedom when one does not know the history of it. This according to cultural activist Eintou Pearl Springer who again lamented the lack of local and especially local African history taught in schools. Speaking to Newsday yesterday after the performance of her play, “Freedom Morning Come” at the Treasury building, Port-of- Spain, Springer said none of the country’s children knew anything about the history the play depicted so it was important that people fight the “foolish education system” that did not properly represent the history of the country. “It is a crime that continues the enslavement of the mind. Read more here

No change in entry policy

The University of the West Indies’ St Augustine principal Brian Copeland says the campus has taken no decision to lower the entry requirements for the Faculty of Social Sciences due to any drastic drop in the number of applicants. In giving this assurance yesterday, Copeland also sought to clear the air on how applicants to any programme are assessed. Last week, when questioned on the issue after it was raised in the media, Education Minister Anthony Garcia had said the prerequisites for entry were lowered for only the certificate programmes offered at The UWI’s Faculty of Social Sciences. A Prior Learning Assessment Requirement (PLRA), he said, would also be done for applicants. In a statement yesterday, Copeland admitted that in the case of Social Sciences, the number of applications to “a few programmes has declined,” pushing the modal score in the pool for selection of applicants closer to the lower level matriculation requirements. Read more here

Set Us Free

AS the nation yesterday celebrated Emancipation, cries for freedom came from scores of foreign nationals at the Immigration Detention Centre, Aripo, who are begging to be freed from inhumane conditions and injustice. The Express understands one Chinese national attempted suicide by cutting his hand at the centre after giving up hope of being freed. A 30-second video of the Chinese national being wheeled out of the detention centre was sent to the Express. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Endoscopy Suite at EWMSC to reduce bed space demands

The Endoscopy Suite at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope, (North Central Regional Health Authority) has formally been opened and is hoped to save more bed space than having patients overnight for one to three nights. Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh officially declared the ward open on Monday, although it has been operating since May 2016. “This is a red letter day that enhances the experience of a patient, having to undergo anaesthesia whether local or general. It is a much safer product to deliver, patient satisfaction goes through the roof, and we also decrease the burden of taking up bed space, so it is a win-win situation for all,” he said. Read more here

Hosein starts P/Town corporation audit

The Ministry of Rural Development and Local Government has launched an audit into the operations of the Princes Town Regional Corporation (PTRC) following complaints regarding overtime payments. In confirming the situation with Guardian Media, Local Government Minister Senator Kazim Hosein said Desdra Bascombe, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, had instructed the ministry’s audit department to launch an investigation into the overtime payments and other operations of the PTRC. The no-nonsense minister said he plans to stamp out corruption in all 14 regional bodies and noted that no corporation would be spared from the auditors. Read more here

Carmona, family leave for Florida vacation

President Anthony Carmona left for Florida, USA, yesterday and will be on vacation until August 19. A release from the Office of the President stated Carmona will be on vacation from August 1-19 and in his absence, Senate President Christine Kangaloo will act as President. Kangaloo was sworn in yesterday morning at the Office of the President, St Ann’s. The Express was told Carmona departed for Florida yesterday morning, but it was not confirmed whether the President will be flying elsewhere from there. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

No crowds for vacation period

Although the Cabo Star vessel seems to have gotten a passing grade from Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan, Tobago’s small guest house owners say they are still feeling the brunt of the sea bridge woes. President of the Bed and Breakfast Association in Tobago, Kaye Trotman, says tourism on the island has taken a nose-dive and the promise of the arrival of a new passenger vessel in the midst of peak season will not help. Sinanan, speaking at the commissioning of a bridge last Saturday in Tabaquite, said from all the feedback he has been getting, the Cabo Star seems to be adequate enough to meet the needs of the sea bridge. Read more here

Murder rate, handouts hurting real growth

The Trinidad and Tobago economy will improve in this half of 2017, spike in 2018, then begin to slide again after 2020, a senior economics lecturer at The University of the West Indies (The UWI) has projected. Dr Roger Hosein’s medium term economic outlook, emailed to Express Business last week, coincided with the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF’s) Article IV consultation with Government and other stakeholders. The Central Bank of T&T’s latest monetary policy announcement (MPA), which also gives a snapshot of the economy, was also released last week and was consistent with Hosein’s forecast. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Venezuela opposition leaders arrested

The top United Nations human rights official on Tuesday expressed deep concern about the detention of two opposition leaders by Venezuelan authorities after Sunday's elections for a Constituent Assembly convened by President Nicolás Maduro. “I am deeply concerned that opposition leaders Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma have again been taken into custody by Venezuelan authorities after their house arrest was revoked,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein in a statement issued by his office (OHCHR). He urged the government immediately to release all those being held for exercising their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, association and expression, noting that the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention considers the detention of both Lopez and Ledezma to be arbitrary. Read more here

Firm On Gay Rights - US Embassy Says LGBT Equality Still Big On Its Agenda

The Kingston-based United States Embassy has no plans to relent in its push for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons to be given due recognition in Jamaica. Following the departure of former ambassador to the island, Luis Moreno, a month ago, the US Embassy has revised its strategic priorities. Its four overall goals in order of priority are now to safeguard homeland and US citizens, increase trade and shared economic growth, combat Caribbean health challenges, and strengthen Jamaica as a partner on global issues. But while LGBT rights fall in the fourth tier in the order of priorities, and despite US President Donald Trump's unofficial ban on transgender people joining that country's military, the US Embassy's counsellor for public affairs to Jamaica, Sri Kulkarni, told The Gleaner that LGBT rights will always be a priority of the embassy. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Who speaks for US on N. Korea? Contradictions emerge as Tillerson heads to Asia

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson heads to Asia later this week for a regional meeting on security issues, which is expected to be attended by ministers from North Korea, China, South Korea and Japan. It could be an opportune moment for a diplomatic breakthrough on Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs, which have been causing massive headaches for US President Donald Trump. But questions linger over whether Tillerson can speak for his administration given contradictory remarks from US politicians. "The Trump administration is still scrambling to find a policy on North Korea. They're still seeking an easy solution when none exist," said Adam Mount, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. Read more here

German industry holds 'diesel summit' on car emissions

Germany's carmakers are expected to agree a plan to cut harmful diesel emissions, at a summit with top politicians in Berlin. The industry is under huge pressure to help curb air pollution, after the diesel emissions scandal, which exposed cheating to manipulate test readings. The reputation of a key strategic industry is at stake. Car firms provide more than 800,000 jobs in Germany. Firms including VW and Opel are likely to offer software updates for engines. But agreement on a much more expensive fix - retrofitting diesel engines with new components - is unlikely, correspondents say. Read more here

2nd August 2017

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