Fri, 23 Oct 2020 06:25:55 +0000 $15m spent to prepare for property tax

FINANCE Minister Colm Imbert reported that more than $15 million has been spent on hiring field officers to conduct assessments on buildings and other assets as part of the implementation of property tax. He was speaking Thursday as the Standing Finance Committee examined the estimates of the Finance Ministry. Oropouche West MP Davendranath Tancoo asked about $7 million for travelling and subsistence, an increase of $4 million. Imbert said this had to do with the intention to step up visits to properties for valuations for the collection of property tax. Tancoo also asked about a line item for $17 million for contract employment. Imbert explained that in 2020 the ministry brought on a significant number of field officers and the process for the implementation of property tax. He also reported there were 333 contract positions for the implementation of the property tax. Mayaro MP Rushton Paray asked if the number of officers was sufficient to complete the number of homes to trigger the property tax (50 per cent) and Imbert replied the ministry was utilising a variety of approaches including databases. He added if additional workers are required the ministry will approach Cabinet to get more staff. Barataria/San Juan MP Saddam Hosein asked the pe

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Fri, 23 Oct 2020 06:28:54 +0000 Pitch Lake, oil lake

THANK GOD IT’S FRIDAY IF YOU want a visual illustration of the Trinidadian term, “monkey pants,” meaning a really bad situation, drive up to Fort George and have a look at the Gulf of Paria, which may very soon become the Gulf of Petroleum. You may not see your monkey pants clearly now, but you will feel its effects soon enough. The biggest uncertainty relating to the FSO Nabarima, a rusty Venezuelan oil tanker moored within Venezuelan waters in the Gulf of Paria, is whether it will sink or simply break apart. The most assured certainty is that, unless a very great deal is done to prevent it, the Nabarima will very shortly spill1.3 million barrels of thick crude oil – five times more than the Exxon Valdez, an environmental disaster we’ve still not fully recovered from 31 years after it happened – into the Gulf. It’ll look like something out of a Hollywood post-apocalypse blockbuster – but it will be us who get our block busted first and most thoroughly, and our apos properly calypsed. Our own government has pointed out, correctly, that, though its effects will be felt more in Trinidad than anywhere else, and though the oil slick may spread all over the Caribbean and into the Atlantic and end up on coastlines

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Fri, 23 Oct 2020 06:37:18 +0000 Janoura brings Xmas cheerwith Mannequin Tree

HANNAH JANOURA, the owner of Janouras Custom Design Ltd, loves Christmas and knows how much good cheer is truly brought by the spirit of Christmas. She is spreading some of that Christmas cheer through her Mannequin Christmas Tree. In mid-October, Janoura began decorating her store on Sackville Street, Port of Spain. She told Newsday, “Everybody was so blah, so I decided I am going to do something earlier than normal. [caption id="attachment_853362" align="alignnone" width="683"] - SUREASH CHOLAI[/caption] “Each floor has its Christmas tree. I decorated all of the trees. I have all of the elves on some of the bags inside here. You will walk in here and feel it is Christmas week.” Each tree has its own touch of Caribbean flair and aesthetic. Janoura’s mannequin Christmas tree has a lamé jacket and mask, and a skirt is made of Christmas garlands and ornaments. The garlands are also on the mannequin’s head with an accenting gold bow. Her Mannequin Christmas tree stands in Janoura’s storefront like a scene from the Caribbean version of the 1980 movie A Mom for Chr

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Fri, 23 Oct 2020 06:35:55 +0000 CMO: UWI study under way to record coronavirus types in TT

A team of researchers from UWI is working to find and record the different variations of the coronavirus in TT, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Roshan Parasram on Wednesday. Speaking at the Ministry of Health's virtual covid19 update, Parasram said similar research has been done in other parts of the world. He expected the findings to give more information on their transmissibility. According to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) there are six known types of the coronavirus to date. "The research is to show that there are subtle variances in the sub-types. However, it has not been shown, at least at this point, that these viruses and the subtypes have significant differences in terms of the way they are transmitted, or their infectivity or the clinical outcomes of different strains to any significant level. So they seem to be minor mutations to the most part." Parasram said for this study, samples would be sourced from throughout the Caribbean through the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and analysed from both phases one and two of infection. He also said no testing has been done for research, as staff were still organising the laboratory. The post

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Fri, 23 Oct 2020 06:39:03 +0000 Wallace willing to take FIFA case to Privy Council

TT Football Association (TTFA) president William Wallace is not ruling out the possibility of taking his ongoing battle against world football body FIFA all the way to the Privy Council if he has to. Wallace told Newsday on Thursday the idea of taking the case to the London courts – TT’s highest appellate court – if the Court of Appeal’s decision is not in his favour, is something he “cannot disagree with.” It is now nearly eight months since Wallace began his legal battle against FIFA after it removed his administration and appointed a normalisation committee to run the affairs of local football, on March 17. FIFA insisted the move was not victimisation and that the decision was made because of “a massive debt” and financial woes. It also refused to acknowledge TT’s High Court as a legitimate option for the hearing after Wallace appealed. It said the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland is the only court it recognises for such disputes. Initially, Wallace and his attorneys – Dr Emir Crowne and Matthew Gayle – appealed to the CAS but withdrew, moving to TT’s High Court, as they believed they would not get a “fair hearing” from the Swiss c

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Fri, 23, Oct, 2020 07:01:00 GMT Divided reactions in US as pope backs same-sex civil unions

NEW YORK, United States (AP) — LGBTQ Catholics and their allies in the US welcomed Pope Francis' endorsement of same-sex civil unions, the first time he's done so as pontiff, while some prominent members, including a bishop, said Wednesday that he was blatantly contradicting church teaching. Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island, was one of the first conservative Catholic leaders to go public with criticism.

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Fri, 23 Oct 2020 01:12:47 +0000 ESPN To Broadcast Rugby World Tens Series

ESPN will stream and televise the World Tens Series allowing audiences across the globe the opportunity to watch the inaugural World Tens which will be held in Bermuda starting this weekend, the organisers announced this evening. A spokesperson said, “The sports giant will allow fans living in the USA, Caribbean, Latin America, Brazil and Sub Saharan […](Click to read the full article)

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Thu, 22 Oct 2020 22:34:20 +0000 Epsilon is now a category 2 hurricane

The National Hurricane Center is issuing advisories on Hurricane Epsilon, located over the west-central Atlantic a couple of hundred miles east-southeast of Bermuda. Epsilon is expected to make its closest approach Thursday or Friday. Epsilon became the fourth major hurricane of the 2020 season, along with Laura, Teddy, and Delta, and the second major hurricane to form in October. Large swells generated by Epsilon will affect Bermuda, the Bahamas, the Greater Antilles, the Leeward Islands, the east coast of the United States, and Atlantic Canada during the next few days.

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Thu, 22 Oct 2020 21:46:59 +0000 AM Best Affirms “A” Ratings Of BF&M

BF&M Limited announced today that AM Best has affirmed the financial strength rating of A [Excellent] of BF&M Life Insurance Company Limited [BF&M Life], BF&M General Insurance Company Limited [BF&M General] and Island Heritage Insurance Company, Ltd. [Island Heritage]. The outlook of each of these ratings is stable. The outlook of each of these ratings […](Click to read the full article)

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Thu, 22 Oct 2020 21:07:54 +0000 RBC, Pan American Life team up to help small businesses

RBC Royal Bank has partnered with the Pan-American Life Insurance Group to supply 30 small businesses in TT with covid19 care packages. A release issued by the bank on Wednesday said each package contains personal protective equipment (PPE) products and signage to help business owners safeguard their staff and customers. The packages will be delivered in the next few weeks. Greer Quan, CEO-Caribbean at the Pan-American Life Insurance Group, said, “Small businesses have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. As many regions move into the stabilisation phase, PPE will be vital to their recovery.” She went on to say this initiative shows the "power of collaboration." RBC managing director Gretchen Camacho-Mohammed said, “With restrictions being lifted, we saw a need to help small business owners not only financially but also to assist them in preparation for their return to office and/or reopenings.” She thanked the Pan-American Life Insurance Group for working with the bank to “bring this initiative to life. “As corporate partners working together we are stronger in the positive impact we can make in society. We all need to work together to protect lives and livelihoods for all stakeholders as we make

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Thu, 22 Oct 2020 14:34:10 -0500 UK champions better access to finance for SIDS

THE UNITED Kingdom (UK), working with Fiji and Belize, yesterday brought together Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in a virtual round table to broker better access to finance and identify solutions for a resilient recovery from coronavirus....

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Thu, 22 Oct 2020 14:31:57 -0500 Diversify beyond US and UK, travel expert urges Caribbean

WESTERN BUREAU: With the United States economy contracting and the United Kingdom also facing economic fallout from the ravages of COVID-19, in addition to uncertainty related to Brexit, travel-research experts are urging the Caribbean to consider...

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Thu, 22 Oct 2020 14:34:44 -0500 NURSING HOMES IN BREACH - Majority of elderly care, indigent facilities fail COVID-19 inspection

More than half of the nursing homes and infirmaries inspected across the island since May to gauge how they have been adhering to COVID-19 protocols aimed at mitigating the risk of an outbreak of the virus have been found unsatisfactory. The...

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Thu, 22 Oct 2020 20:07:54 +0000 Agriculturist: Use more state lands for food security

Agricultural consultant Riyadh Mohammed is questioning the allocation and use of state lands and the actual use of arable land for its intended purpose. Speaking with Newsday, Mohammed, the lead consultant at Tropical Agriculture Consultancy Services, said the distribution of state lands has raised many questions and has always been problematic and controversial. The administrative body for state land is headed by the Commissioner of State Lands in the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, who is responsible for issuing licences, rights of way, leases and agreements, special permissions, eviction notices to squatters and advising on termination notices to tenants in breach of agreements. Mohammed had several questions, "How much of the agricultural state lands issued to tenants are being fully utilised, under full production capacity or abandoned, how is the evaluation of agricultural productivity measured and what are the repercussions of not being productive?” He said these concerns should be raised at a time when the world faces a pandemic and food security should be a priority, especially for a small island developing state. Mohammed pointed out that approximately 52 per cent of the entire acreage of TT was state land

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Thu, 22 Oct 2020 20:52:09 +0000 REGIONAL: FFOS slams CARICOM, OPEC countries silence on FSO Nabarima

(Looptt.com) – The Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) is calling for CARICOM as well the other nations that depend on the Caribbean Sea – including Latin American, French and Dutch Caribbean territories – to meet urgently to discuss the implementation of a regional plan of action to address environmental disasters such as the […]

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Thu, 22 Oct 2020 19:13:01 +0000 Caricom congratulates re-elected New Zealand PM

CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque has congratulated New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on her re-election in the country’s general election on October 17. Caricom noted in a media release that Ardern had led her Labour Party to a rare outright majority for New Zealand elections, capturing 64 seats in the 120-seat assembly. “The New Zealand electorate has no doubt favoured you, Prime Minister, for your compassionate leadership and, particular, for the success of your 'go hard, go early' approach in addressing the covid19 pandemic, which helped to combat the spread of the virus,” LaRocque said. “The Caribbean Community looks forward to strengthening the relationship which it has established with New Zealand, and wishes you success in your efforts to build back better after the pandemic." The 40-year-old Ardern became the country's 40th prime minister in 2017, the same year she became leader of the

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Thu, 22 Oct 2020 18:40:54 +0000 Patient discharged, 2 days without new covid19 case in Tobago

One more patient has been discharged from the Tobago covid19 treatment facility. The island has also gone two days without a new reported case of the virus. Active cases remain at 32 and the number of deaths stands at two. The Division of Health Wellness and Family Development's midday update said the total number of people discharged on the island is now 70. In all 104 covid19 cases have been recorded in Tobago. A total of 1,515 samples have been submitted to the Caribbean Public Health Agency, the Tobago Regional Health Authority, UWI and other local covid19 testing sites. The release said three people are in the treatment facility, 15 in the Tobago step-down facility and 14 covid19-positive inmates still recovering at the Claxton Bay Correctional facility in Trinidad. The post Patient discharged, 2 days without new covid19 case in Tobago appeared first on Trinidad and Tobago Newsday.

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Thu, 22 Oct 2020 17:46:29 +0000 Hattie Geleta Nesbitt

Hattie Geleta Nesbitt, 99 yrs., a resident of Fresh Creek, Andros & formerly of Crooked Island, died at the Geriatric Hospital on Saturday, October 10, 2020. She is survived by 1 son: Chief Petty Officer Byron Maitland of The R.B.D.F. & 1 daughter: Aneka Skaggs; numerous grand & great grandchildren & a host of other …The post Hattie Geleta Nesbitt appeared first on The Nassau Guardian.

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Thu, 22 Oct 2020 15:52:54 +0000 Cybercrime under-reported

THE TTPS does not have definitive data about the prevalence of ransomware and other debilitating cyberattacks in TT because local companies that fall victim often do not make reports to the police. But head of the Cyber and Social Media Unit Sgt Daniel Hernandez said there is evidence that incidents involving malicious software usage by cybercriminals is on the rise globally. There’s also an increase in relation to attacks on companies. “We can only focus on reports. If we don’t get reports then we can’t give definitive (information) on what is happening,” he told Newsday. On Wednesday, Newsday reported that some IT systems at Ansa McAl, the Caribbean’s biggest conglomerate, were held hostage by a ransomware attack by criminal cybergang REvil. In a statement that evening, Ansa McAl acknowledged a “security incident” within the group’s IT systems in Barbados and Trinidad, but the business was once again operational. Asked if there was any update, the company said on We

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Thu, 22 Oct 2020 03:50:25 +0000 U.D.P. Candidates for North Side Divisions in Belize City are Locked In

While the blue dominated the Old Capital in the morning, the reds took over the city in the afternoon. News Five’s Duane Moody was in Caribbean Shores, Pickstock and Freetown [...]

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Thu, 22 Oct 2020 14:11:10 +0000 49 media people laid off at OCM group

SOME 49 employees of One Caribbean Media's subsidiaries CCN, Trinidad Express and TV6 have been served retrenchment letters this week. Group CEO Dawn Thomas made the announcement on Wednesday, saying the move was both part of a restructuring exercise undertaken by the company and a result of declining revenues in recent years. The workers' respective union representatives and the Ministry of Labour have also been notified. In her statement, Thomas wrote, "The media industry has been going through fundamental changes mainly due to technological developments in the digital space. "Additionally, the economic environment has been challenging and in decline for several years." She said these factors have negatively affected its advertising revenues as clients have cut their advertising and marketing budgets "as they too struggle with a decline in their business performance. She said before the retrenchments, the management team “explored all possible actions during its restructuring exercise including cost reduction measures in all areas." Newsday recently spoke with Banking, Insurance and General Workers Union president Mario Als, who held discussions with the conglomerate ahead of the move. The union mem

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Thu, 22 Oct 2020 11:54:02 +0000 Photos: Ordnance Island Phased Revamping

There was an event held to celebrate the phased revamping of Ordnance Island in St George’s, which has seen has the relocation of several of the historic assets, with the Mayor noting that “this phase of the project is only the beginning.” Speaking at the event yesterday, St George’s Mayor George Dowling said, “Good day Corporation […](Click to read the full article)

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Thu, 22 Oct 2020 05:34:57 +0000 TTOC president to feature in Cartan Global web series

PRESIDENT of the TT Olympic Committee (TTOC) Brian Lewis will be featured in an episode of Cartan Global’s online series Coffee Talks. The web-series has previously featured Jamaican Olympic bobsledder Chris Stokes, Chef de mission of the Olympic Committee of Panama Ivette Bourette, and St Lucian high jumper Levern Spencer, among others. Guests speak about their involvement and experiences in sport and the sporting industry. Lewis will be featured on Thursday at 6.30 pm on the company’s social media platforms. In an Instagram post, it said, “He will be talking with us about all the great work he has been doing for the sports of his country and the continent. Don’t miss out!” Lewis is also President of the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committee (CANOC) and an IOC Gender Equality Review Project working group member. The post TTOC president to feature in Cartan Global web series appeared first on Trinidad and Tobago Newsday.

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Thu, 22 Oct 2020 07:05:20 +0000 QKYC brings customers, banks together

Know your customer (KYC) procedures are the bane of anyone trying to open any kind of bank account – and probably for the banks themselves as well. Kesha Julien and her business partner Louis Kinley want to make that process easier. They’re the co-founders of QKYC, a firm that helps streamline the KYC process for banks and customers, collating the required personal data securely and efficiently to reduce the time needed to confirm and clarify information. Ideally, the aim will be to not only speed up the time it takes to open a bank account, but also incorporate more people into the banking sector. “Originally, back in 2017 when we started, we were going to focus on payments because Kesha realised as an entrepreneur, it was hard for a small business, even a successful and growing one, to set up sales online. But as we started going down the road, we realised payments wasn’t just a tech problem or even a Trinidad problem but a global financial system problem. And a big part of that pain was KYC and customer due diligence in general,” Kinley said. Kinley, originally from the US but now living in TT, was also stunned by the difference in KYC requirements in TT versus his hometown of New York. “When we started, we both really grounded a

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Thu, 22 Oct 2020 09:24:45 +0000 Gonzales: Govt approach to climate change runs deep

Minister of Public Utilities Marvin Gonzales says the State's approach to climate change and its causes "is as wide as it is deep," and encompasses all sectors and levels of the national community. Gonzales delivered the feature address at Monday's opening of the American Chamber of Commerce's 24th Health, Safety, Security & Environment (HSSE) Conference & Exhibition, which is being held virtually because of the covid19 pandemic. "For hundreds of years, mankind has had a love affair with fossil fuels. And understandably so. Coal, and then oil and gas, along with their downstream industries, have literally driven the global economy." But, he said, as with all relationships, there must be a point where one steps back to assess the situation. "(And) in the case of fossil fuels, it is obvious that we cannot continue to sustain our relationship without doing irreparable damage to ourselves and to the planet that we call home. "Government has realised that despite our unique position as an oil- and gas-producing country, the sustainable use of our energy resources is the first step in the journey towards a sustainable and resilient energy future." He said TT was not the only country to come to this realisation. [caption i

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