Daily Brief - Wednesday 8th March, 2017

NEWS

Men Behave

After raising the ire of women weeks ago, by comments about the choices they make in men, Prime Minister Keith Rowley pointed yesterday to a real need for increased efforts to reshape the behaviour of this country’s male population. He saw the need for such action after referencing an International Women’s Day message from the United Nations Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, who said, “we want to construct a different world of work for women…we have to start change at home and in the earliest days of school so there are no places in a child’s environment where they learn that girls must be less, have less and dream smaller than boys.” She added, “This will take adjustments in parenting, curricula, educational settings and channels for everyday stereotypes such as TV, advertising and entertainment… it will take determined steps to protect young girls from harmful cultural practices like early marriage and from all forms of violence.” Rowley, in his own message on the occasion said those are some of the issues currently engaging the attention of his Government. Read more here

All not right in our households

As the world celebrates International Women’s Day today, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley is calling on citizens to make a stronger effort to protect children and women from domestic violence. “We cannot continue to pat ourselves on the back for the local and international accomplishments of our girls and women if, at the same time, newspaper headlines bombard us with evidence that all is not right in many of our households,” Rowley said in a message yesterday marking the occasion. “This is as much a concern for me as it is for my Government, since it points to a real need for increased efforts aimed at re-shaping the behaviour of our men and boys.” Read more here

‘Institutional bandits’

Commercial banks came in for blows in the Senate yesterday. Independent Senator Ian Roach said the banks were seen as “institutional bandits, financial extortionists” who unilaterally imposed all kinds of bank charges. “Correct, correct!” said his colleague, David Small, as he gave desk-thumping support. Roach, who was contributing to the debate on the FATCA bill, said FATCA was attended to in order to protect the banks and the US Government’s interest but now Government must attend to the public outcry about the banks. “Now that the FATCA is on its way to being enacted, the financial institutions can breathe a sigh of relief, in particular the banks. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Even CJ against PIs

D ’abadie/O'Meara MP Ancil Antoine says removing the Preliminary Inquiry (PI) will vastly improve the judicial process as hundreds of people are languising in prison awaiting the start of their court cases. Speaking on Monday during debate in the Lower House on the Indictable Offences (Pre-Trial Procedure) Bill, 2017, Antoine said that even Chief Justice Ivor Archie, has expressed his opposition to keeping the PI system, which is a type of trial in which a magistrate listens to evidence and determines if a case should move to the full trial stage before a judge and jury in the High Courts. Some PIs are over ten years old. Antoine, reminded the Opposition that it was the UNC Government that contemplated the same objective in previous legislation, observing that they were unable to accomplish their intention because of Clause 34. Read more here

US lobbyist in T&T for talks with Rowley

Arthur Collins, the man who heads the lobbyist firm The Group DC LLC, which has been retained by the Trinidad and Tobago Government to lobby its cause in Washington, is in the country for meetings with Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley and other key Government officials. The T&T Guardian called Collins’ office in Washington yesterday and was told, “Oh, actually Mr Collins is in Trinidad for the next few days.” However, his office refused to divulge details of his itinerary while here. Rowley confirmed in Parliament on Monday that Government had retained the firm’s services, but gave no details on why it thought necessary to hire a lobbyist at this time. However, he said the firm was hired after “certain behaviours” of the former Kamla Persad-Bissessar administration “put Trinidad and Tobago in a very bad situation with our largest trading partner,” the United States. Rowley did not say what those behaviours were. Read more here

Minister: Both teachers and pupils in trouble

Education Minister Anthony Garcia journeyed to Ste Madeleine Secondary School yesterday where he met with the school principal, teachers and pupils. After the meeting, Garcia told the media the teachers who protested on Monday, and the pupils who pelted them with plastic bottles, are likely to be penalised for their actions. The Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) wants the school principal, Joy Arjoon-Singh, removed. Several teachers protested outside the school on Monday against the principal while pupils inside the compound beat drums, chanted in support of the principal and hurled some bottles at the teachers. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Scotia announces $170M profit for first quarter of 2017

Scotiabank Trinidad and Tobago Limited yesterday announced profit after tax of $170 million for the first quarter of the year ending January 31, an increase from $157 million for the same period last year. Total assets for the first quarter were $23.6 billion, growth of $1.4 billion or six percent over the comparable period last year. Earning’s per share increased to 96.6 cents from 89.1 cents in the comparable period the previous year, while dividends per share at 50 cents represented an increase from 40 cents in the quarter ended January 31, 2016. Read more here

MHTL has no gas contracts for four methanol plants

President of National Gas Company (NGC) T&T Ltd, Mark Loquan, assured yesterday that negotiations between Methanol Holdings Trinidad Ltd (MHTL) and NGC are being conducted in “good faith and quite professionally.” This comes as MHTL, through its operator Industrial Plant Services Ltd (IPSL), mothballed two of its five methanol plants and prepared to separate 100 affected employees. Negotiations between MHTL and NGC for new gas supply contracts for four of MHTL’s five methanol plants have been ongoing since 2013. Read more here

Too much jammin’ in T&T

Education Minister Anthony Garcia’s Ash Wednesday report of high absenteeism among the nation’s primary and secondary school pupils following the four-day Carnival weekend should have surprised no one. According to Garcia, only 18 per cent of primary pupils and 26 per cent at the secondary level turned out for classes. While he did not give numbers, he said that teacher turnout was good. There have thus far been no reports of worker turnout on that day. But if it was normal by historical standards, there will have been high absenteeism across the board. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

More Deportees - Jamaica Braces For Their Arrival From UK Today

More than 100 Jamaicans have been sent back to Jamaica from the United Kingdom since the last mass deportation of 42 persons in September 2016, and another batch is on their way, as a charter flight is scheduled to land here later today. This latest deportation comes amid continued discussions between the Ministry of National Security, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the British High Commission over concerns raised by persons who have been previously deported, many of whom no longer have family ties in Jamaica, having left here as children. A release from the national security ministry sought to explain that all legal avenues of appeal in the UK have been exhausted. Read more here

Appeal court reinstates election petitions in St Vincent

 Election petitions filed by the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) have been reinstated by the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal sitting in Saint Lucia on Tuesday, citing apparent bias of the trial judge, Justice Brian Cottle. The NDP has challenged the results of the December 9, 2015, general elections in the Central Leeward and North Windward constituencies, asking the court to declare the opposition party as the winner of the elections in the contested districts or to order fresh by-elections there. Cottle, who is no stranger to allegations of bias, had initially thrown out the petitions as improperly filed, but the NDP appealed that decision. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

China calls on N Korea to suspend missile and nuclear tests

China has proposed that North Korea suspend its tests of missile and nuclear technology to "defuse a looming crisis". Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that in exchange, the US and South Korea could halt annual joint military drills, which consistently infuriate the North. The appeal comes after North Korea test-launched four missiles on Monday, breaking international sanctions. In response, the US began rolling out a missile defence system in South Korea. Speaking on the sidelines of China's annual parliamentary meeting, Mr Wang said the Korean peninsula was like "two accelerating trains, coming toward each other with neither side willing to give way". Read more here

Ana Roš: The female chef putting Slovenia on the map

Five years ago, few people would have put trying Slovenian food on their bucket list. Nestled between Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia, the tiny country of two million people which takes just three hours to drive across, wasn't on the culinary map. But one female chef has thrust the Central European nation into the global limelight with her visionary gastronomy. Last year, chef Ana Roš appeared on Netflix series Chef's Table and, in January, she was crowned "The World's Best Female Chef 2017" by The World's 50 Best Restaurants. Read more here

 

8th March 2017

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