Daily Brief - Wednesday 8th February, 2023


TTMA looking forward to RIC consultation today

The T&T Manufacturing Association (TTMA) is seeking clarity in today’s consultations hosted by the Regulated Industry Commission. Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre is set to host the latest round of public consultations concerning the proposed increase in electricity rates. President of the TTMA Tricia Coosal said many of the association’s members were concerned about the potential increase and its impact on their operations. Coosal said, “The TTMA looks forward to the consultation with Regulated Industry Commission this Wednesday at the Hilton. An initial survey of the manufacturing sector suggests there would be an impact on the sector. However it would be premature to state the extent of the impact prior to the consultation with the RIC where the sector hopes to get more clarity on the proposed rates. “ Coosal said a significant chunk of her membership would be a part of the consultations. Read more here



Rajiv Diptee explains why food prices can't go down

President of the Supermarket Association (SATT) Rajiv Diptee on Tuesday sought to explain to the nation, why food prices cannot decrease at this time, despite global food prices declining for ten consecutive months. “There is a lag time that comes into play with price decreases on international markets filtering into local production, which can then end up on grocery shelves at lower prices. Customers can surely expect to enjoy lower prices as suppliers and distributors of imported goods fetch the products at lower prices which they can then effectively pass onto supermarkets,” Diptee said. Read more here

Big businesses operating inside prison

National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds yesterday revealed the extent of the “jailhouse economy” within the prison system. He said most of the inmates charged with murder are known gang members who have “serious influence” in their respective communities and in some cases across the country. He said prison officers are seen as oppressors. “It’s not a tea party in there. The people in there are alleged to have committed nasty crimes and have no regard for humans, law, mother, father... they rude!” He said the “jailhouse economy” involves hundreds of thousands of dollars. “Big businesses are run from inside the jail through their friends and illegal communications. It’s an ongoing battle to deal with illegal communications, some of which have to do with calling of shots on the outside, get this one dead, or get that one dead,” he told the Senate. Read more here



Heritage refinances debt to tune of US$975 million

Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon said that Heritage Petroleum Company’s Ltd recent refinancing of the Trinidad Petroleum Holdings Ltd (TPHL) group’s debt to the tune of US$975 million has resulted in an upgrade of the groups S&P rating from B+ to BB. She made the statement in response to a question by Opposition Senator Wade Mark in the Senate on Tuesday. She was responding on behalf of the Minister of Energy and Energy Industries. She said this was the second refinancing of TPHL’s debt, with the first instance having taken place in 2019. Read more here

No control for Nat Sec Minister on FUL extensions 

A hotly contested clause in the Firearm Amendment Bill (2022) was deleted before the Bill was passed in the Senate on Wednesday morning. The clause set out to give authority to the National Security Minister to extend the life of firearm users licenses (FULs) beyond its three -year period. With the clause removed, that authority remains with the Police Commissioner. During the debate, which began on Tuesday afternoon and lasted until 1 am on Wednesday, all six Opposition United National Congress (UNC) senators objected the clause being included in the bill. Objections also were raised by several Independent senators, including Paul Richards and Anthony Vierra. Read more here



Business ‘powerhouse’ Sidney Knox passes away

Businessman Wilfred Sidney Knox who had been the face of the Neal and Massy conglomerate for over 30 years passed away yesterday. “Mr Knox worked under the tutelage of Charles Massy, one of the founders of the Neal and Massy group and held various positions rising through the ranks, from a sales representative to joint managing director and later to Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Group,” a release from Massy stated yesterday. According to Massy, Knox was “incredibly proud” of the conglomerate celebrating its centenary recently and viewed the celebrations with enjoyment and pride. “In its formative years, Mr Knox also served as Deputy Chairman at the UWI Institute of Business (now Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business) bringing considerable depth of experience to the institution. He will be remembered as one of the outstanding business leaders of his time,” it stated. Read more here

Sagicor still interested in CLICO

Two top executives of Sagicor Financial Company say the region’s largest insurance company by assets remains interested in acquiring the traditional portfolios of CLICO and British American Trinidad (BAT). T&T’s Central Bank selected Sagicor as the preferred purchaser of the traditional portfolios of the two insurance companies, once owned and controlled by CL Financial, on September 30, 2019. But the Central Bank’s selection process was stymied by a legal challenge brought by Maritime Life (Caribbean) Ltd, which was successful in the Privy Council last October. Read more here



GECOM approves work plan for LGEs

By way of a majority vote, the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), on Tuesday, approved the work plan for the conduct of Local Government Elections (LGEs). Guyana Chronicle understands that the A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) commissioners opted to withhold their votes. However, it was the decisive vote of GECOM Chairman, Justice (ret’d) Claudette Singh that paved the way for the approval of the work plan. The secretariat will now proceed with the full implementation of the relevant statutory and administrative activities to ensure the successful conduct of the elections in the 80 Local Authority Areas (LAAs) countrywide. Read more here



Ukraine war: Borrowed time for Bakhmut as Russians close in

The soil of Bakhmut is dusted with snow and soaked with blood. This small city in Eastern Ukraine is at the centre of an epic battle. For more than six months Russian forces have tried to claim it. Ukrainian troops have resisted, giving rise to the popular slogan here "Bakhmut holds." Now the Russians are attacking from three sides, with regular troops and fighters from the notorious Wagner mercenary group. The Russians have reached one of the main highways into the city, and are closing in on the outskirts. There is house-to-house fighting in some areas on the outskirts, with "hard battles for every home" according to the Ukrainian military. It feels like Bakhmut is on borrowed time. If so, Ilya and Oleksii intend to use every second of it. Read more here


8th February 2023


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