Fri, 23 Oct 2020 06:26:54 +0000 UNC abstains as Budget passed

The Senate will on Friday begin its debate of the budget after the Standing Finance Committee of the House of Representatives approved it on Thursday after four days of examining its spending proposals line by line. However, the Opposition abstained. Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar in a statement afterwards said the budget was oppressive. “We cannot in good conscience vote for a budget that will inflict pain on the most vulnerable in our society. “From property tax to motor vehicle taxes, to measures that would lead to more job losses and loss of income for people, the Opposition could never support such oppressive backward policies.” She said while people were told to curb their tastes and do more with less, the Government continued its wanton and spending. “Just yesterday we learned of millions being spent to outfit a building owned by the family of the Attorney General. “This, while funding was cut for critical services such as flood prevention and mitigation.” She said the Government was not growing the economy and vowed to hold them to account. In committee, Minister of National Security Stuart Young said Cabinet earlier approved US$1 million to help TT nationals stranded abroad due to travel restrictions on

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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 06:24:54 +0000 Unique identifier for every child

MINISTER in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Gender and Child Affairs Ayanna Webster-Roy said a Children’s Registry is to be developed which will give every child in the country a unique identifier code. She was speaking Thursday as the Standing Finance Committee examined the budget estimates under the Office of the Prime Minister. Chaguanas East MP Vandana Mohit asked about a line item for the Children’s Registry and Webster-Roy explained the unique identifier code will follow the child throughout their life. Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Stuart Young added that tender proposals were currently being evaluated. Neither minister was asked to elaborate on the uses and benefits of the identifier code. Mohit also asked about the $10 million allocation for the Chaguanas Library and Young said it was 60 per cent complete and should be finished “very soon” in this fiscal year. Princes Town MP Barry Padarath asked about the $588,800 allocation for the response to HIV/AIDS. Webster-Roy said this sum was for all programmes and projects under the National Aids Coordinating Committee including providing assistance for organisations. She added the national HIV/AIDS policy has been laid as a green paper and the

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Fri, 23 Oct 2020 06:22:57 +0000 No danger posed by Nabarima

ENERGY Minister Franklin Khan and Foreign and Caricom Affairs Minister Dr Amery Browne sought to assure the nation on Thursday that there is no danger posed by Venezuelan-registered oil tanker FSO Nabarima which is anchored in the Gulf of Paria. With 1.3 million barrels of crude oil in its storage tanks there has been growing unease both locally, regionally and internationally after claims were made that the vessel was listing to one side and slowly sinking. However, at a virtual press conference to reveal the findings of a TT team of experts who boarded the vessel on Tuesday, on the invitation of the Venezuelan government, Khan and Browne said there is concrete evidence the vessel is upright, stable, with no visible tilt and no imminent risk of tilting or sinking. However, Browne said there will be no sharing of images taken during the visit to the vessel because it is a “sensitive asset” for Venezuela and its petrochemical industry. Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) has been pressing government to make public, videographic evidence of the vessel’s stability because of what the group said were doctored pictures which were issued recently. Khan said he is satisfied with the findings of the TT team who were the first vi

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Fri, 23 Oct 2020 06:22:57 +0000 Trini woman among 3 charged for Scarborough break-in

A TRINIDAD woman is among three people who appeared in the Scarborough Magistrates Virtual Court on Wednesday, charged with breaking into LAL’s Building, Dutch Fort, Scarborough, on October 18. Sparkle Christmas, of Claxton Bay; Winston Bailey, 29, a labourer of Mt Marie, Scarborough; and Taireke Lawrence, 21, a labourer, of Dutch Fort, stood before before magistrate Jo-Anne Connor in the First Court, charged with housebreaking with intent. Bailey, who pleaded guilty, begged for leniency and was sentenced to six months’ hard labour. Christmas was fined $3,000 or six months’ hard labour. Lawrence, who pleaded not guilty, was put on $45,000 bail with surety. Lawrence also has the option of paying $3,000 in cash on condition that he report to the Scarborough Police Station every Saturday. He is expected to reappear at the court on November 17. WPC Stewart of the CID laid the charges. The post Trini woman among 3 charged for Scarborough break-in appeared first on Trinidad and Tobago Newsday.

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Fri, 23 Oct 2020 06:20:54 +0000 Chote challenges CJ’s ban on in-person trials

A LEGAL challenge to the Chief Justice’s covid19 emergency practice directions, which ban in-person hearings, has been mounted by a man who is before the court on a corruption charge. New practice directions came into effect on Monday and direct judges and magistrates to adjourn cases if it is impossible to try them electronically. Rajesh Ramgobin, a former police officer who was charged in 2006 on three corruption charges relating to taking a $3,000 bribe, opted in September for a judge-alone trial which was expected to begin virtually on Monday before Justice Lisa Ramsumair-Hinds. The prosecution, in keeping with a position it adopted in July that the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions will not be used as a courthouse for witnesses to give evidence, filed submissions asking for an in-person hearing. In a separate objection, Ramgobin’s attorneys Sophia Chote, SC, and Peter Carter are challenging the court’s authority to hear the trial electronically. Chote said on Thursday the defence had previously asked for the prosecution’s main witness to be cross-examined face-to-face, while acknowledging that there was no absolute right to a confrontation. Chote said while other aspects of the trial could have proceeded

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Fri, 23 Oct 2020 06:33:56 +0000 Angostura puts advisory labels on products

Angostura is putting advisories on labels for its latest products. The upgraded labels on White Oak Watermelon Flavoured Rum inform consumers about the number of calories per drink and include warnings on underage consumption, driving under the influence and drinking during pregnancy. A release from Angostura said this latest initiative puts Angostura ahead of its international counterparts, as the introduction of the new labels will increase the information on the rum products to consumers. Launched in August, White Oak Watermelon Flavoured Rum is the latest addition to Angostura’s rum portfolio. The labels on White Oak Sorrel and Coconut Flavoured Rums also have warning signs and a responsibility statement. The advisory labels will be introduced to all new products and will be rolled out to existing products within the next year. Angostura’s acting CEO Ian Forbes said while adding the advisory labels is an expensive process, consumers need to be better informed and understand what they are buying and drinking. “This is really a natural progression for us...It has coincided well with the launch of several new and exciting products from us, such as our White Oak Watermelon Flavoured Rum. Despite a difficult year for t

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Fri, 23 Oct 2020 06:32:01 +0000 Duke: No election rigging in PSA

PUBLIC Services Association (PSA) president Watson Duke flatly denied claims by rival candidate for the union presidency, Curtis Cuffie, of a plot to use computer software to rig the November 23 election. Cuffie led members of his Concerned Public Officers (CPO) team at a briefing on the steps of the PSA office in Port of Spain on Thursday to level his charges, which Duke countered with two colleagues of his Game Changers slate in a social media video. Cuffie said the candidacy of one of his team’s candidates, Michelle Brown, was now being unlawfully challenged by the Duke team, being up for discussion at Friday’s meeting of the PSA general council. Brown said she was not personally told of any challenge to her nomination. “It seems like Mr Duke and his executive want to postpone the election,” she hit. “You’re trying to find all kind of nonsense to stop the election.” CPO candidate for first vice president Loretta George said it will be a breach of PSA rules for Brown’s nomination to be determined by the general council. She quoted the rules which say a challenge is first determined by the Elections Officer, with any dissatisfied party free to appeal to the Elections Committee whose ruling can in turn be appealed to the genera

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Fri, 23 Oct 2020 06:32:00 +0000 The pandemic will pass, but will the economic disease?

FJ CUDJOE IN THE world of health, a disease is recognised by its symptom(s) and usually a cure is sought, but the simplest thing is to neutralise the symptoms; following this, the cure is pursued. Essentially there is an economic consequence to a person’s poor health and collectively to a nation’s. The current pandemic and … Continue reading The pandemic will pass, but will the economic disease? The post The pandemic will pass, but will the economic disease? appeared first on Trinidad and Tobago Newsday.

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Fri, 23 Oct 2020 06:30:59 +0000 Let Plipdeco manage port

THE EDITOR: With reference to the plan for the Port of Port of Spain to be privatised, surely it is the management of the port that is being auctioned off. I suggest Plipdeco tenders for the contract. This company is local, is on the stock exchange, and seems to be doing a good job at … Continue reading Let Plipdeco manage port The post Let Plipdeco manage port appeared first on Trinidad and Tobago Newsday.

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Fri, 23 Oct 2020 06:30:58 +0000 WASA Diego trench filled

THE EDITOR: A big “thank you” to the good Samaritans who filled the WASA trench across the Morne Coco Road off the lights on the Diego Martin Highway, which was the cause of the traffic back-up in and out of Petit Valley. And also the two potholes at the entrance to Hillcrest Drive. Neither WASA, … Continue reading WASA Diego trench filled The post WASA Diego trench filled appeared first on Trinidad and Tobago Newsday.

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Fri, 23 Oct 2020 06:29:55 +0000 Blatant voter bias in the US

THE EDITOR: Most of the countries in North, Central and South America have been hugely impacted by the transatlantic slave trade. None more so than the US where this ultra-violent, heinous, wicked and totally dehumanising institution was finally abolished in 1865, after a civil war over the matter, where the southern states were on the … Continue reading Blatant voter bias in the US The post Blatant voter bias in the US appeared first on Trinidad and Tobago Newsday.

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Fri, 23 Oct 2020 06:29:55 +0000 Seek help to get our people home

THE EDITOR: I had every intention of waiting until Saturday’s Prime Minister-led press conference (by my count we’re due for one on that day) because I am still hopeful to hear certain things announced. But this could not wait. The repatriation system, whatever it may be, being used for our nationals is simply not working. … Continue reading Seek help to get our people home The post Seek help to get our people home appeared first on Trinidad and Tobago Newsday.

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Fri, 23 Oct 2020 06:29:55 +0000 Never a dull moment in Barbados

IT IS worth asking: if we are importing police from Barbados, why not consider what else we can bring? The Prime Minister’s fiat to the Royal Barbados Police Force, in a sensitive probe implicating local police, invites reflection on TT’s history of turning to Barbados to bolster the police. Bajan migration to this country has … Continue reading Never a dull moment in Barbados The post Never a dull moment in Barbados appeared first on Trinidad and Tobago Newsday.

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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 06:37:55 +0000 Skerritt: Non-contracted players free to ply trade elsewhere

PRESIDENT of Cricket West Indies (CWI) Ricky Skerritt is hoping regional players will choose to play for the West Indies before T20 leagues, but the board will not punish non-contract players for plying their trade around the world. Skerritt, in an interview on the SportsMax Zone, on Tuesday, said CWI has not received a No Objection Certificate from a particular West Indies player and will assume he is not playing in the Lanka (Sri Lanka) Premier League until they receive that document. The CWI president did not mention Russell’s name, but the Jamaican power hitter is the only West Indies player who was drafted to play in the Lanka Premier League (LPL) who chose not to tour New Zealand with the West Indies. The regional team will play New Zealand in three T20s from November 27 to 30, followed by a two-match Test series bowling off on December 3. “That particular player is not contracted to Cricket West Indies. Some years ago the courts basically told Cricket West Indies that you cannot restrain the trade of players you have not contracted otherwise. So where a player like him is not contracted he has every legal right to ply his trade wherever he seeks to or deems appropriate for him to do so even if he is invited to play for Cricket West Indies.

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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 06:36:35 +0000 Fearless speakers for TEDx PoS

THIS year's TEDx Port of Spain, like almost every event since March, is going virtual for its tenth anniversary. The TEDx co-ordinators had big plans for this milestone event. The speakers were chosen by January, and to celebrate the tenth anniversary, TEDx would have been held on the tenth day of the tenth month. When they realised the event would not happen, plans were first cancelled, but Dennise Demming, co-licence owner of TEDx Port of Spain, said she knew the group had to celebrate despite the pandemic. "We became competent in an in-person conference and covid happened, so we've had to pivot away from an in-person conference to a virtual online conference...For a long time we were immobilised by fear. We decided no matter what, we would have it. We wanted to have it on the tenth of the tenth, but we pushed it back. We can't have the tenth anniversary pass and covid stop us. That's why we had it on October 24," Demming said. TEDx is using a platform called Hubilo, a virtual event platform, in addition to Zoom for tomorrow's event. "The platform, laid on top of Zoom, gives you a virtual experience. We are trying to mimic a new approach. It virtual-mimics what we've been accustomed to with our in-person experience...If we were having it a

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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 06:34:09 +0000 Rock Hard Distributors donates 200 laptops

Rock Hard Distributors Ltd is the latest member of corporate TT to donate electronic devices to the Ministry of Education’s Adopt-a-School initiative. The company, a member of the Ramhit Group of companies, issued a statement on Tuesday which said it has given approximately 200 students from nine schools devices to support their home-based learning. Minister of Education Nyan Gadsby-Dolly received the devices at the ministry's Education Towers in Port of Spain on Tuesday. Managing director of Rock Hard Cement TT Mr Ryan Ramhit said the 200 devices form part of a commitment of 2,000 devices to be donated by the group. Students also received novels and stationary supplies. The release said Gadsby-Dolly thanked all corporate sponsors who have donated thus far to the initiative. “Many people are surprised by how citizens have stepped up,” she said. "However, I issued the call knowing the type of people we have here in this country, certain that we all want to see TT succeed. And what better way to do so than through an investment into our children?” Mamoral RC Primary will receive 20 devices; Maracas SDA Primary will get 25; La Horquetta North and South will receive 20 devices each; Arima West Gover

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Fri, 23 Oct 2020 06:40:11 +0000 Celebrating girls and young women

International Day of the Girl Child The post Celebrating girls and young women appeared first on Trinidad and Tobago Newsday.

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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 00:57:52 +0000 Photos of the day: Oct 22

Newsday photographers captured some of these images reflecting the past 24 hours in Trinidad and Tobago. Other photos were submitted by readers like you. If you'd like to be featured in our daily photo galleries, please e-mail us a photo to news@newsday.co.tt with the caption "Photo of the Day" and we will pick one photo each day to feature, with a few sentences about the photographer. [caption id="attachment_853315" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Pimento peppers hang from a plant. - Ayanna Kinsale[/caption] [caption id="attachment_853316" align="alignnone" width="1024"] PC Gabriel Sayers keeps himself hydrated by drinking water while on duty on Jermingham Street, Scarborough, Tobago. - Ayanna Kinsale[/caption] [caption id="attachment_853317" align="alignnone" width="1024"] A street dweller s

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Fri, 23 Oct 2020 00:36:54 +0000 TT-born director selected for Oscars committee

TT-BORN, Canadian award-winning film director Frances-Anne Solomon will now be a part of the group reviewing candidates for an invitation to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organisation responsible for the Oscars. She will serve on the Directors Branch Executive Committee for a year. Solomon received the news this week from academy governors Ava DuVernay, Rodrigo Garcia and Steven Spielberg. The e-mail sent to her said, “You were selected to serve because we and our branch members consider you to be a thoughtful, creative and innovative representative for the branch.” Solomon’s Hero: Inspired by the Extraordinary Life and Times of Mr Ulric Cross opened this year’s Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles. She joined the academy last year. “It was a wonderful experience to see a show I’ve watched on television for so many years unfold right before my eyes. And now being a part of the Directors Branch Executive Committee where my voice will be heard and valued in the film community is an honour,” she said in the release. Solomon was one of 842 new invitees – half of them women and one third people of colour – in a move to improve the diversity of

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