Daily Brief - Friday 25th August, 2023


Passengers stranded at sea for 17 hours after Cabo Star fire

A fire onboard the cargo vessel the MV Cabo Star on Wednesday stranded passengers at sea for 17 hours in another major disruption to travel between Trinidad and Tobago in the last seven days, after 60 flights, some domestic, were cancelled by Caribbean Airlines (CAL) when 75 pilots called in sick last weekend. A Thursday statement from the management of the Port Authority of TT (PATT) said a fire broke out onboard the vessel after it left Scarborough at 11.23 pm on Wednesday. The statement said the fire started in the engine room, and was isolated and extinguished by crew in accordance with vessel emergency protocols. No injuries were reported, and meals were provided to passengers. PATT said the extent of the damage was yet to be determined and would be the subject of a thorough investigation. Read more here

TTPS restricts vacation leave, wants more officers in high crime areas

The country’s crime situation has led to the T&T Police Service restricting leave for all police officers at this time. The move is meant to boost the TTPS’ manpower in the streets, particularly in crime hot spots. In a memo titled Leave Restriction dated August 23 to all heads of Divisions, Branches and Sections of the TTPS, acting Deputy Commissioner of Police, Administration and Operational Support, Ramnarine Samaroo wrote, “Due to the exigencies of the service, all applications for vacation leave exceeding 14 days or requiring permission to proceed out of the country will be restricted until further notice.” The memo also stated, “This measure has become necessary to facilitate current anti-crime initiatives where additional manpower is required to stymie the onslaught of criminal activities.” Contacted yesterday, Samaroo said, “We have an upsurge in crime and that is what prompted this as we needed additional strength to do some additional patrols.” Read more here



EBC: 2-vote swing gives Arima Northeast to PNM – MORE LGE BACCHANAL

Post local government elections bacchanal continued on Thursday when the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) said the PNM won the Arima Northeast district which falls under the Arima Borough Corporation. In the August 14 local government elections, the PNM and UNC each received 625 votes in the district. On August 15, the UNC requested a recount. That recount gave the UNC 624 votes to the PNM's 623. The EBC accepted a request from the PNM for a second recount. Read more here

Govt steps into CAL-TTALPA negotiations

The negotiations between Caribbean Airlines (CAL) and the Trinidad and Tobago Pilots’ Association (TTALPA) have taken a different turn as the Government is now set to intervene in the process. The news was delivered to TTALPA members during a meeting with CAL’s negotiating team yesterday at 2 pm, which Guardian Media understands lasted just under an hour. Both parties are negotiating increases for the period 2015–2020. TTALPA went from a proposal of 0 per cent, 4 per cent, 4 per cent, 4 per cent and 1 per cent for the five-year bargaining period to 0 per cent, 3 per cent, 3 per cent, 3 per cent and 1 per cent. The airline has proposed 0 per cent, 2.5 per cent, 2.5 per cent, 2.5 per cent and 0 per cent, contending that its five per cent lumpsum for 2018 to 2019 took into consideration the company’s financial position and the increases that have already been applied. Read more here



Cargo not affected, but Customs issues linger

While many things were thrown off by the actions of Caribbean Airlines pilots over the weekend, cargo deliveries for the most part were not. According to CEO of e-commerce service Web Source, Lincoln Maharaj, cargo flights were not affected as those planes are wet leased and flown by international pilots. He confirmed that his company’s operations were not affected by the situation over the weekend as a result. AMCHAM CEO Nirad Tewarie also confirmed that there was little complaint from the Chamber’s membership concerning cargo, but did note that there were underlying issues affecting cargo delivery which need to be addressed. Read more here

Domestic airbridge a loss for CAL, says Shamfa

Caribbean Airlines (CAL) is operating at a loss on the airbridge between Trinidad and Tobago, according to Member of Parliament for Tobago West, Shamfa Cudjoe. Speaking on Tobago Channel 5’s “Rise and Shine” segment yesterday, Cudjoe mentioned that apart from the initial purchase of the plane, it also needs to be maintained, and the 20-minute route between Trinidad and Tobago has proven to be costly for the airline due to wear and tear. “Operating an airline is not a bike shop. It’s a lot of maintenance, you have to schedule pilots accordingly, train them accordingly. They have to leave every now and then to go to France and to go to Miami to do their training and so on and all of that costs. Read more here



$170B more required for housing advancements

There are currently 57,000 applications for house lots across the country and in order for the Government of Guyana to meet the demands for housing, a massive $170 billion will be needed. This was according to President, Dr. Irfaan Ali, at the opening ceremony for the 2023 International Building Expo at the National Stadium, Providence, East Bank Demerara (EBD), on Thursday. The Head of State told the gathering of both patrons and participants that the government will make the necessary investments. “They have 57,000 active applications in the system that must be processed now, and I want the population to have an appreciation for this,” Ali said, adding: “In Regions Three, Four and Six, because of the volume of applications, they are now processing applications up to 2019 as I speak to you. In the other regions, applications are more or less processed in real-time.” Over the next three years, the government intends to embark on an aggressive plan to dent this backlog, opening new lands and constructing more homes. Read more here



Fukushima: Discharge from Japan nuclear plant safe, tests show

The operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant says seawater samples taken around the facility are safe. Tepco's test results come a day after the release of treated contaminated water from the plant in Japan, which was destroyed in a tsunami in 2011. The discharge into the Pacific Ocean has sparked protests in the region and retaliation from Beijing. Japan told its citizens living in China to keep a low profile on Friday, including talking quietly in public. "When going out, try to be cautious, such as not speaking Japanese loudly unnecessarily," the country's embassy in Beijing said. It also warned citizens to "pay close attention to the surroundings of the embassy" if planning to visit. Read more here


25th August 2023


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