Daily Brief - Monday 14th August, 2023


Integrity Commission acts on those who did not declare

The Integrity Commission says it has finally cleared a backlog of over 3,000 unfiled Declarations of Income, Assets and Liabilities and Statements of Registrable Interests for the period 2014-2021. In a statement on Friday, the commission said, "These unfiled Declarations of Income, Assets and Liabilities and Statements of Registrable Interests are subject to ex-parte actions." Section 11 (6) of the Integrity in Public Life Act (IPLA) states, "Where a person who is required to do so fails to file a declaration in accordance with this section or without reasonable cause, fails to furnish particulars in accordance with section 13 or fails to file the statement of registrable interests under section 14, the Commission shall publish such fact in the Gazette and at least one daily newspaper in circulation in Trinidad and Tobago." Read more here

Criminologist warns: More meth labs likely in T&T

Crime is evolving in T&T and younger people, especially Generation Z (nine to 24-year-olds), are susceptible to new offences due to technology, economic deprivation, social media and the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. This was the sentiment expressed by the head of the University of the West Indies (The UWI) criminology department, Dr Randy Seepersad, who told Guardian Media he was not surprised by the discovery of a methamphetamine (meth) lab at The Residences at South Park, San Fernando, on Thursday. Special Branch police officers executed a search warrant at one of the modern luxury apartments around 6 am. During the search, they found components assembled in the form of a secret laboratory. A statement from the TTPS said officers also discovered cash, precursor chemicals and packets of crystals of various sizes resembling meth—a highly addictive stimulant that can cause dependency after just one use. Read more here



1,078,651 eligible to vote as 141 local government districts up for grabs

Three months of intense and bitter political campaigning are over. Today the people will make their decision when they go to the polls to vote in the local government election.In a statement on Sunday, the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) chief election officer, Fern Narcis-Scope, said "it's all systems go" for the conduct of the election. "We’re ready and every effort has been made to ensure each elector is able to cast their vote.” In its preparations for the election, the EBC partnered with the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM), the Meteorological Service (TTMS) and the disaster management units (DMUs) of all 14 regional corporations. Read more here

Chief Election Officer dismisses claims of irregularities in special voting process

The Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) has dismissed alleged irregularities in the special voting process raised by the United National Congress (UNC).  In a press release issued yesterday evening, the EBC stated that its Chief Election Officer Fern Narcis-Scope responded to a request for an investigation made by Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar hours earlier. Speaking at a press conference at the Opposition Leader’s Office in Port-of-Spain, yesterday morning, Opposition Senator Jayanti Lutchmedial noted that she first raised concerns while representing the party at Queen’s Hall, on Friday. Lutchmedial claimed that when she and other observers from the four of the other political parties contesting today’s Local Government elections were allowed to view the opening of ballot boxes that emanated from special voting centres across T&T, she noticed that two from San Fernando appeared to be already opened. She noted that she took photographs of the boxes and did not raise a concern as the other boxes were opened and ballots were sorted into the 141 districts being contested in the election. Read more here



T&T, China relations have deepened with Belt and Road Initiative

In 2019, T&T became the first Caricom country whose trade with China exceeded US$1 billion, says Chines Ambassador Fang Qiu. He made the remarks at a reception which took place last week to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the inception of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the fifth anniversary of China-T&T BRI cooperation. “By 2022, our bilateral trade volume surpassed US$1.31 billion, more than doubled the value before joining the BRI,” Qiu added. In 2018, this country became the first Caribbean country to sign onto the BRI, propelling T&T’s practical cooperation in various fields to a new stage. As relations continue to strengthen, local enterprises have also participated in the China International Import Expo for two years in a row, bringing more and more speciality products such as rum and chocolate to Chinese consumers. Read more here

CAF to expand operations in the Caribbean

The Development Bank of Latin America and the Caribbean (CAF) on Friday announced plans to expand its operations into the Caribbean that it says highlights its relationship and commitment with the Caribbean region. CAF executive president, Sergio Díaz-Granados, speaking at the launch of the Report on Economics and Development (RED), entitled “Inherited Inequalities: The Role of Skills, Employment and Wealth in the Opportunities of New Generations,” said the relationship would extend beyond the current shareholder countries of Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica. Read more here



Local oil mill to expand production with new $5M processing plant

With an increasing demand for more local by-products on the market, Pomeroon Oil Mills Incorporated will be expanding its production with a $5 million copra-processing plant at Charity, Region Two. The company which is popularly known for its Golden Brook cooking oil is currently seeking approval from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish the processing facility. “The project aims to meet the demands for quality copra edible oil and is in confirmation with the government objective to encourage industries based on locally available raw materials,” the company said in a project summary submitted to the EPA. The developers will be sourcing copra, which is the dried, white flesh of coconut from which coconut oil is extracted by farmers in the region. Read more here



Maui fires: 'We're self-reliant people - but where's the help?'

For those still living inside Hawaii's disaster zone on the western side of the island of Maui, there's one vital lifeline to the outside world: volunteer effort. Standing at the wheel of the Ocean Spirit, a boat operated by marine conservation charity the Pacific Whale Foundation, is Captain Emily Johnston. From day one, along with her crew of volunteers, she's been making multiple daily trips, taking supplies of food, water, fuel and clothing to the devastated town of Lahaina and the surrounding communities left without power or phone coverage. "These islands they go through hurricanes, tsunamis, fires, everything and we're often having to be very self-reliant because we are isolated," Emily tells me. "But that said, we're all wondering why there was no help sent from Oahu? Pearl Harbour is a twenty-minute flight away." "Why are the limited resources of the police on this island left alone, where's the support for them? Why are we taking supplies on a boat instead of a helicopter?" Read more here

14th August 2023


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