Daily Brief - Monday 21st August, 2023


PILOTS TOO SICK TO FLY – CAL cancels 37 flights amid wage talks

Thousands of Caribbean Airlines (CAL) passengers were left stranded on Sunday when 37 flights – 13 international, 14 domestic and 11 regional – were cancelled after pilots called in sick. In a release on Facebook on Sunday evening, the airline said it received a "remarkably high volume" of calls from its pilots saying they were unwell and could not come to work. The calls came about three hours before the flights were set to depart. "It is to be noted that the airline is currently in negotiations with the Trinidad and Tobago Airline Pilots Association (TALPA) over a collective agreement for the period 2015-2018," CAL said. The release was posted at 6 pm, hours after TALPA took to social media to dispute another newspaper's headline which said pilots were on strike. In its release, TALPA denied any participation in industrial action. Read more here

Travellers vow to stay out of Tobago

The Port of Scarborough turned out to be a saving grace for many airline passengers yesterday after Caribbean Airlines arranged for the inter-island ferry to transport passengers between the islands. The passengers were told to use their airline tickets to secure a seat on the ferry after numerous CAL flights were cancelled because of “cockpit crew constraints.” However, many passengers were still upset with how the situation was handled by the airline. A 55-year-old man from central Trinidad vowed never to return to Tobago again and he blamed CAL as the reason for his decision. “I like coming to Tobago for a vacation, but it’s always getting worse and worse. You have to book plane and ferry tickets months in advance, then when something like this happens it throws everything off balance. I am not doing this again, Mayaro or Cedros for it,” he said. Read more here



UNC moves ahead with legal action against EBC

The Opposition United National Congress is taking legal action against the Election and Boundaries Commission (EBC) today (Monday) regarding a rejected ballot in the Lengua/ Indian Walk area where the EBC has called fresh elections. The EBC last Saturday announced fresh elections in Lengua/Indian Walk after the UNC and PNM candidates’ respective votes tied twice—but the UNC claims the rejected ballot makes the party the winner of this area and the EBC is wrong to reject it. At yesterday’s Opposition media briefing in Port-of-Spain, Barataria/San Juan MP Saddam Hosein said UNC political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar wrote the EBC yesterday (Sunday) expecting a reply from the Commission by 4 pm about the ballot. The UNC had stated it would take legal action. After last Monday’s Local Government Elections, the UNC requested recounts in 12 areas including Lengua/Indian Walk. The area was declared on Monday in favour of the PNM. In the first recount last week UNC candidate Nicole Gopaul received three more votes and PNM candidate Autley Granthume, two less. Both tied. In a second recount, there was still a tie: 1,428 votes each. PEP’s Bronson Douglas had 87. Read more here



CCJ refuses to grant approval

The Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) on Friday refused to grant permission to Barbadian businessman Graham Bethell, who was seeking to appeal a decision of the Court of Appeal in Barbados. Bethell had sought permission from the CCJ, the island’s highest and final court, to appeal a trial judge’s decision to enter summary judgment against him and which had also dismissed his counterclaim filed against Royal Bank of Canada (Barbados) Ltd. In May 2012, the bank had claimed the sum of Bds$1,040,583.67 (One Bds$-US$0.50 cents) against Bethell, saying it was owed to it under a guarantee and postponement of claim signed by Bethell and other company directors of ISIS Development Ltd in March 2005. Read more here



T&T getting technical support from Guyana to rebuild rice industry –Mustapha

THE Government of Guyana is providing technical support to Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) in its quest to rebuild its rice industry, Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha has said. Mustapha, who chairs the special ministerial task force for food production and food security at the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), told reporters on the sidelines of a recent event that the initiative is part of a wider collaboration among regional leaders to reduce the food importation bill by 25 per cent by the Year 2025. Collaboration has been a top priority for regional governments to achieve the ambitious target.

“You know, Trinidad used to plant rice before. We are working with them, and would have supplied them with seed paddy the other day. We have some technical people working along with their technical people, so they have started replanting rice,” Minister Mustapha said, adding that there is a high demand for rice across the world. Read more here



Hundreds of migrants killed by Saudi border guards – report

Saudi border guards are accused of the mass killing of migrants along the Yemeni border in a new report by Human Rights Watch. The report says hundreds of people, many of them Ethiopians who cross war-torn Yemen to reach Saudi Arabia, have been shot dead. Migrants have told the BBC they had limbs severed by gunfire and saw bodies left on the trails. Saudi Arabia has previously rejected allegations of systematic killings. The Human Rights Watch (HRW) report, titled They Fired On Us Like Rain, contains graphic testimony from migrants who say they were shot at and sometimes targeted with explosive weapons by Saudi police and soldiers on Yemen's rugged northern border with Saudi Arabia. Read more here


21st August 2023


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