Daily Brief - Wednesday 8th February, 2017

NEWS

‘Boy Boy’ charged for Nadia’s murder

Kenny ‘Boy Boy’ Ramroop, 31, appeared yesterday before a Siparia magistrate charged for the murder of Nadia Simms, whose body was found in a shallow grave by iguana hunters, four days after relatives reported her missing. Ramroop, a yam vendor of Ramdass Trace Extension in Santa Flora, appeared in the First Court before Magistrate Armina Deonarinesingh who read the charge that sometime between January 27 and February 2, at Field Road, St Clyne in Santa Flora, he murdered Simms. Sgt Darryl Corrie of Homicide Bureau Region III laid the charge. An autopsy performed at the Forensic Sciences Centre in St James, proved inconclusive because of the advanced state of decomposition. Yesterday, at the court hearing, Charlene Kalloo represented the accused together with attorney Roopnarine Rambachan, who was retained by Ramroop’s relatives. Read more here

Teacher on 2 sex charges

A mathematics teacher was allowed to continue on $70,000 station bail yesterday, after she appeared in court charged with two sexual offences involving a female student. Camille Winter, 33, stood before Senior Magistrate Debra Quintyne in the Sangre Grande First Court on two charges of intent to commit sexual activity to a minor. She was not called upon to plead as the charges were laid indictably. The court heard that Winter was arrested on Monday by police officers attached to Eastern Child Protection Unit, after an intensive investigation following reports made by the teenage victim, a Form Five student, to the police. Read more here

Psychiatrist: You are not property

There must be a zero tolerance stance on domestic violence, says secretary of the Association of Psychiatrists, Dr Varma Deyalsingh. Speaking with the Express yesterday, Deyalsingh said the spike in domestic violence cases may be the result of men believing women are their “property”. He said domestic violence is an under reported crime which needs serious attention from those in authority. However, Deyalsingh said the statistics also show women abusing men. “It is a fact that women are being abused but even the statistics show that women are also abusing men. But the level of aggression and the difference in size of a man and a woman and the different levels of force being used, the woman would be on the receiving end. The men in our society think that the women are their property,” he said. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Government frustrated at crime

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and top Ministers expressed frustration at aspects of the country’s system of law enforcement and criminal justice as they spoke at a National Conversation on Monday at the Maloney Complex Amphitheatre. Rejecting calls for a State of Emergency, he said last month’s murder-toll on 52 deaths had compared to similar figures of 48 murders in January 2014, and 43 deaths and 44 deaths respectively in January months of two other recent years. Even as a Manpower Audit aims to untangle the “tangled system” of the TT Police Service, he said that under the law he cannot direct the police how to act. “I too am angered by some of the things I see,” Rowley said. He added it is a long way for crime to reach to an acceptable situation but Government is on the job. Minister of National Security Edmund Dillon, hoped the use of DNA would help boost the country’s paltry 18 percent detection rate for murders. He expressed frustration at bandits being on bail and bemoaned that when police hold a bandit with a gun he/she quickly gets bail from a magistrate and gets another gun to go out to commit more crimes, to get money to pay his attorneys to keep him out of jail. Read more here

More revenue from beer, cigarettes

Recent tax hikes on beer and cigarettes have not affected consumption of these two items and have actually contributed to increased Government revenue from the two areas, Finance Minister Colm Imbert said yesterday. But there’s been no increased revenue following tax hikes on rum/spirits, he added during a Senate contribution. Imbert spoke about the situation, in dealing with orders to finalise tax hikes on beer, cigarettes and rum/spirits. These had been announced last year in the 2017 Budget. The orders apply to customs import/excise duties on the products including from the Caricom area. Among reasons was to curb excessive consumption of cigarettes particularly. Imbert noted it cost $500,000 to treat one lung cancer case. Read more here

Reckless Rowley

Anglican Bishop Rev Claude Berkley says the socialisation of men and boys is important to deterring murders while women’s group Womantra has called on Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to “apologise”. These were indicative of the varied reactions to Dr Rowley’s advice to women to “pick their men wisely” while speaking during the first of a series of 14 conversations which started at the Maloney Mall Amphitheatre on Monday night. Rowley said: “You called upon the Prime Minister to do something about crime. I am not in your bedroom. I am not in your choice of men. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Damen Group acquires CDM

International shipbuilding company, Damen Shipyards Group, has taken over management of the Curacao Droogdok Maatschappij (CDM) effective February 1, following an agreement with the company and Government of Curacao. According to a statement, the location will continue its activities under the name Damen Shiprepair Curacao (DSCu). The commencement of Damen Shiprepair Curaçao was celebrated on February 2nd at the yard in the presence of all staff as well as parties involved during the negotiation period. The Damen Shiprepair & Conversion group currently operates 42 drydocks in 16 shipyards worldwide. The company said in a statement that the move to Curacao allows it to expand its ship repair activities across the Trans-Atlantic Ocean. It adds that the yard is strategically located on the route to the Panama Canal, is outside the Hurricane Belt and offers excellent working conditions within a natural bay. In addition, the statement said that since Curaçao is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, smooth logistic connections and fast import of required materials are guaranteed. Read more here

Only 16 Hired At La Brea, Workers Complain

They came in their hundreds, eager to get a job at the construction site of the $6.3 billion Petrochemical plant, but after waiting for hours only a handful of residents were hired yesterday. From as early as 5.30 am, the residents of La Brea, Sobo, Vessigny, Rousillac and Union villages gathered outside the construction site at Union Estate, La Brea waiting to get the good news that they had been hired for construction jobs at the site. Many of them were already registered at the Ministry of Labour, Small and Micro Enterprises and were approved for work. A few completed orientation while others eagerly filled out application forms. Up to 10 am, only 16 people were hired by Junior Sammy Contractors. Qualified safety officer Dixie Ann Williams said she was not hired, even though between 250-300 people were already working at the construction site. Read more here

The Uber ride

It will be interesting to see if Uber Technologies, the unconventional, technology-driven taxi company that grew from an idea to a giant global corporation in five years, pursues its bid to add Trinidad and Tobago to the 60-odd countries in which it has established operations. Last month, Uber launched its “ride-sharing” service in Port of Spain in anticipation of a heavy demand for transport by patrons of Carnival-related activities such as fetes and concerts.  Read more here

 

REGIONAL

NHT 'Raid'? - Gov't Considering Funds For Budgetary Support

The Government is reportedly considering using National Housing Trust (NHT) funds for budgetary support, and Dennis Chung, chief executive officer, Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), said doing that would reduce taxes to be imposed for the upcoming fiscal year. In 2013, the Portia Simpson Miller administration amended the law to take $45.6 billion from NHT over four years for fiscal support under a four-year deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). That deal was replaced last year with a three-year standby one. Andrew Holness, while opposition leader, criticised the decision, and his Jamaica Labour Party threatened court action to test its legality. He also said alternative funding could have been found. Read more here

CARICOM, Cuba agree to expand preferential market access

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Cuba have reached agreement for the expansion of preferential access to each other's markets. An agreement to this end came at the meeting between the two sides held at the end of last month. The tenth meeting of the joint commission established under the trade and economic cooperation agreement between CARICOM and Cuba convened at the CARICOM Secretariat, Georgetown, Guyana 30-31 January. A significant number of items from the Community, including beer, fish and other agricultural products, and manufactured goods, have been approved for entry into the Cuban market free of duty once both sides formalise the agreement. CARICOM member states have also agreed to grant duty-free access to Cuban goods, including pharmaceuticals. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Alexei Navalny: Russian opposition leader 'found guilty'

Russia's main opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, has been found guilty of embezzlement, local media report. A judge was still reading the verdict in the city of Kirov, but news agencies said it was clear in his remarks that Mr Navalny had been convicted. Even a suspended sentence would bar him from running for president next year. An outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin, Mr Navalny has denied the accusations, saying the case is politically motivated. A sentence in the retrial, ordered after a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights, may take hours to be read out. Prosecutors had asked the judge to hand Mr Navalny a five-year suspended sentence. Read more here

Travel ban hearing: Fiery judges put lawyers on their heels

Three federal judges grilled lawyers from the Justice Department and Washington state Tuesday night as they considered whether to lift a US-wide block on President Donald Trump's travel ban. The appeals court judges sparred with attorneys over the President's use of sweeping executive power, questioned the connection between the seven affected countries and terrorism, and launched into tough questions over whether the ban discriminated against Muslims. During the telephone hearing, the lawyer representing the Justice Department, August Flentje, argued that the President had wide powers relating to immigration and national security. He contended that federal judges did not have the power to review Trump's executive order, which bars citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from entering the US for 90 days. It also prevents entry for all refugees for 120 days and indefinitely halts the admission of refugees from Syria. Read more here

8th February 2017

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