Category: Press Releases

PM and BHP discuss future plans for T&T

Prime Minister Dr the Honourable Keith Rowley and Minister of Communications, Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister and Minister in the Office of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs, the Honourable Stuart Young met with a high- level delegation from BHP Billiton at the Diplomatic Centre on July 25, 2018.

Steve Pastor, Global President Petroleum BHP Billiton led the delegation which included Derek Cardno, Vice President Drilling, Vincent Pereira, President BHP Trinidad and Tobago and Sheldon Narine Corporate Affairs Advisor.

The team provided the Prime Minister with an update on their recent drilling programme, including deep-water drilling, seismic work and future plans in Trinidad and Tobago.

The meeting also focused on the important role Trinidad and Tobago plays in BHP’s oil and gas business. BHP expressed gratitude for the positive working relationship it enjoys with Trinidad and Tobago and reiterated that it intends to continue investing in this country in the coming decades.

Press Release – Senator Allyson West to act as Minister of Public Administration

Senator Allyson West to act as Minister of Public Administration

Prime Minister Dr the Honourable Keith Rowley today (July 12, 2018) advised President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Her Excellency Paula Mae-Weekes that Minister of Public Administration, the Honourable Marlene McDonald is unable to perform her duties by reason of illness.

The Prime Minister has asked the President to appoint Senator the Honourable Allyson West to act as Minister of Public Administration with effect from Thursday July 12, 2018 and continuing during the illness of Minister McDonald.

Minister West will perform these duties in addition to her role as Minister in the Ministry of Finance.

PRESS RELEASE- T&T maintains tier two ranking in its response to human trafficking

The Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago continues to demonstrate increasing efforts in the fight against human trafficking.

According to the United States Department of State Trafficking in Persons (TiPs) Report 2018, Trinidad and Tobago maintains its Tier 2 ranking.

The annual report acknowledged the strides made through measures taken by Government, including:

• Expanding authorities to collect intelligence on trafficking crimes.

• Creating new task forces on intelligence gathering and prosecution to increase law enforcement’s ability to investigate and prosecute trafficking cases.

• Government’s collaboration with INTERPOL on investigations of four potential trafficking cases.

• Increased anti-trafficking training for public officials.

The Ministry of National Security notes the recommendations made in the report specific to Trinidad and Tobago with regard to expanding victim services, victim identification and victim screening.

It should be underscored that significant work has already been undertaken by the Ministry’s Counter Trafficking Unit (CTU) which continues to give priority to educating persons on the crime of Trafficking in Persons. Sensitization workshops have been conducted for students of primary and secondary schools, school safety officers, school supervisors, officials employed in the hospitality and tourism industry and law enforcement officers.

The CTU in collaboration with other Government departments and Non-Governmental Organisations continue efforts in increasing public awareness on human trafficking, the provision of victim support and bringing perpetrators to justice.

Members of the public who have information on suspected human trafficking activity should contact the Counter Trafficking Unit (CTU) toll-free hotline at 800-4288 (4CTU).

Press Release- New TTT to be launched by end of July

“I am convinced that we can become number one in Trinidad and Tobago…it is incumbent on each and every one of you who are now part of the process to take up your specific responsibility and mantle, I expect that from you.”

That was the challenge Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, Minister in the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs and Minister of Communications, the Honourable Stuart Young, M.P., gave to employees at Caribbean New Media Group (CNMG) whom he met with earlier today to share his vision for the soon to be rebranded company. This was the first time that all staff were invited to a meeting with the Minister of Communications and allowed to ask open questions.

Minister Young wanted the employees to hear from him first, about the company’s direction and the future plans for the company.

The newly installed board has been mandated to launch the new TTT by the end of July. Employees will by the end of this week be given a sneak preview of what the new company logo looks like.

“Obviously we need to be viable. This idea that Government has an open-ended cheque book, if that happened before, fine; [but] it doesn’t exist now.”

Minister Young again allayed fears that the company would be shut down and instead explained that it will be a rebranding process which includes a name change from CNMG Limited to TTT Ltd.

He urged the employees to be committed to their jobs and ensure they go the extra mile for the company. He said the idea is to work towards the new TTT turning a profit.

“We would like to reach a stage where we are able to generate enough advertising revenue to reduce the Government’s subventions.”

Minister Young told the staff that TTT has a lot of history and the rebranding exercise has given them an opportunity to be part of a new chapter in that history.

“We must now lead a revolution in media…the media has the power to change negative narratives. At the end of the day, we, the citizens in Trinidad and Tobago look to the media for news so the challenge is, and I think one of the ways we can turn this around is, by showing the positives.”

Chairman of the board, Lisa Agard told the employees there is an exciting future before them but the challenge they face entails sustaining traditional media while growing digital media.  She said CNMG’s success will depend on the company’s ability to embrace technological advances and their understanding of how citizens consume their content.

 

Press Release- AG responds to the President of the Law Association

THE REPUBLIC OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
ATTORNEY GENERAL & MINISTER OF LEGAL AFFAIRS
THE HONOURABLE FARIS AL-RAWI, LL.B, LL.M.

July 3rd 2018

Mr. Douglas Mendes S.C.
President of the Law Association

2nd Floor
95-97 Frederick Street

Port-of-Spain

Dear Mr. Mendes S.C.

RE: (i) The Criminal Division and District Criminal and Traffic Court Bill

(ii) The Payments into Court Bill 2018
(iii) The Miscellaneous Provisions (Supreme Court of Judicature and Children) Bill
I refer to the matters at caption and acknowledge receipt of your two (2) separate letters to me both dated
June 29th 2018, which I first received from several members of the media whilst I sat during a sitting of the
House of Representatives on the 29th ultimo. I later on the 29th ultimo received from the Treasurer of the
Association, Ms. Theresa Hadad, her email to me of the same date enclosing copies of your said letters to me.

Regrettably and as you are aware, I was not able to respond the very day of receipt of your said letters as the
sitting of the House and Committee of the Whole continued late into the night on the 29th ultimo on the very
contentious and burning issue of the Opposition’s violent about face in support of the unanimous report of
the Joint Select Committee established to consider the Anti Terrorism Bill 2018. This Bill is of national and
international importance as the 190 countries comprising the Financial Acton Task Force will apply enhanced
due diligence, colloquially referred to as ‘blacklisting’ against Trinidad and Tobago if it does not receive
critical amendments contained in the Bill into law immediately. I note with deep concern that the Law
Association is entirely silent on this critical matter, which affects the bedrock of the financial system of the
country.

As per our several conversations over the weekend and ending yesterday I confirm that the Government is
pleased to facilitate the Law Association’s belated request to provide written submissions on the captioned
Bills by July 6th 2018. Accordingly at a sitting of the Senate yesterday July 2nd 2018 the debate on the thirdly
captioned Bill was adjourned to a date to be fixed in September 2018 prior to the end of the 3rd Session of the
11th Parliament. A fortiori, the debate on the secondly captioned Bill will also be taken in September 2018. It
is to be noted that yesterday’s sitting of the Senate was scheduled prior to the Association’s letters to me of
the 29th ultimo.

I note that your said letters to me of the 29th ultimo are very general in nature and are obviously written as a
first blush response by the Law Association to matters which it now wishes to consider and also in fact
reconsider. Whilst we are pleased to have the benefit of the Association’s fulminations it is incumbent upon
me to answer some of the very sharp criticisms levelled by you.

July 3rd 2018
Letter to Mr. Douglas Mendes S.C.
President of the Law Association
RE: (i) The Criminal Division and District Criminal and Traffic Court Bill
(ii) The Payments into Court Bill 2018
(iii) The Miscellaneous Provisions (Supreme Court of Judicature and Children) Bill
Page 2 of 3
I am particularly concerned by the Association’s comments in respect of the Criminal Division and District
Criminal and Traffic Court Bill (the ‘Criminal Division Bill’) which give in my respectful view, the entirely
wrong impression that the Law Association was some how caught off guard in the structuring of this division
and the unique features of inter alia the blending of jurisdictions of the Magisterial Courts and the Assizes and
the use of Criminal Masters. My consternation is deeply rooted in the fact that the structure and features of
the Criminal Division are replicated from the Family and Children Division Act, which established the
Children Court with the very same structures and features of the Criminal Division Bill and which Act of
Parliament has stood as part of the lex corpus since July 5th 2016.
It is a matter of public record that the Law Association was consulted on multiple occasions and in multiple
ways in respect of the establishment of the Children’s Court. Not a single comment has come from the Law
Association let alone an adverse one, since the assent of the law which created the Children Court. This
spectacular observation is underscored by the fact that hundreds of matters have been listed and actually
heard in the two Children courts, where the essence of what is contained in the Criminal Division Bill is in
active and actual practice.
With respect to The Miscellaneous Provisions (Supreme Court of Judicature and Children) Bill it is
true to note that the Government proposes to increase the number of Pusine Judges from 49 to 64 and the
number of Court of Appeal Judges from 12 to 15 and that it proposes to allow Judges to be appointed from
the entire Commonwealth.
The Government has revealed statistics that demonstrate inter alia that: (i) there are over 29,000 preliminary
enquiries in backlog; (ii) 2/3rds of the Prison population is in pre-trial detention with matters over 17-20 years
in delay; (iii) there are over 94,000 matters pending at the Magistrate’s Court with the backlog growing year on
year and; (iv) if trials for murder alone occupied the full attention of the existing compliment of Judges in the
Assizes it will take at least 10 years to deal with the backlog alone. The other 12 laws to be addressed in The
Miscellaneous Provisions (Supreme Court of Judicature and Children) Bill relate to matters that the
Government has observed in the operationalization of the 19 laws amended by the introduction of the Family
and Children Division Act, none of which have come from the Law Association in the near 2 years since the
assent of the law.
The Government’s proposal to increase the number of Pusine and Court of Appeal Judges with a broadened
range to include candidates from the entire Commonwealth has come on the back of the introduction and
implementation of Criminal Proceedings Rules, the opening of new courts and specialist courts as evidenced
by the Children Courts; the introduction of a computerised registry in courts; the filling of vacancies in the
Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions; the increase in manpower at the Finance Intelligence Unit; the
increase in manpower at the Financial Investigations Branch of the TTPS; the reforms to the Land Registry
etc. Judicial capacity is perhaps the most critical aspect required to address the nightmare that is the criminal
justice system.
The Government has noted the Opposition’s call to amend the manner in which Judges are currently
appointed. This will involve constitutional special majority issues. The Opposition’s track record on the
support for special majority legislation speaks for itself. The Law Association has also recently completed an
exercise of reviewing the manner in which Judges are appointed. The courts are currently considering issues
surrounding the Judicial and Legal Services Commission. The Government is in the course of considering
potential amendments to the law relative to judicial appointments. The issue of immediately providing for
more judicial capacity can be separated from the debate on constitutional reform as the manner of appointing

July 3rd 2018
Letter to Mr. Douglas Mendes S.C.
President of the Law Association
RE: (i) The Criminal Division and District Criminal and Traffic Court Bill
(ii) The Payments into Court Bill 2018
(iii) The Miscellaneous Provisions (Supreme Court of Judicature and Children) Bill
Page 3 of 3
judges and the entrenchment of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission in our Republican Constitution
has been in existence for many decades. The Government holds the view that the many thousands of
criminal matters in arrears have to be addressed immediately lest we continue to spend billions on an
unchanged system expecting a different result. The chasm of decades between charge and conviction or
acquittal has to be immediately closed.
We do not share some of the criticism of the Association’s in relation to The Payments into Court Bill
2018 but shall reserve our responses until after receipt of your written comments on the captioned Bills.
The Government agrees that there must be consultation. We posit that this must be catalysed by alacrity and
consistency of approach. The Office of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs has written to the Law
Association on numerous occasions requesting commentary and stakeholder engagement. In many instances
we have been left without even an acknowledgment of our request. All Bills are published and gazetted. The
Criminal Division Bill has been in the public domain since March 9th 2018. I am aware that the Association
has employed an experienced legal officer from the Parliament to assist in its legislative considerations and I
take this opportunity to commend your leadership for advancing this initiative.
The Government awaits the Association’s submissions by July 6th 2018. I remind that we have written the
Association on a host of other very important Bills and note that we have not had any responses to date.
I shall appreciate the same manner of instantaneous and wide spread dissemination of my letter to you as was
employed in your letters to me of the 29th ultimo.
I look forward to your reply and reversion.
I remain
Yours sincerely
Faris Al-Rawi, MP
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs

Local Government ready to respond to affected communities

All Disaster Management Units are on alert and in a state of readiness to respond to affected Municipalities.

As first responders, the Ministry of Rural Development and Local Government has ensured that all Disaster Management Units across the 14 municipalities are placed on alert and in a state of readiness to respond to any complaints of damage or loss to property due to the recent inclement weather.

Reports coming in to the Senior Disaster Management Coordinator at the Ministry have indicated that the Municipalities affected are Port of Spain, Diego Martin, Tunapuna/Piarco, Chaguanas, Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo, San Juan/Laventille, Princes Town and Sangre Grande. Disaster Management Units for the Tunapuna, Port of Spain and Diego Martin areas were activated for safe removal of fallen trees and affected power lines.

An all of Government approach has been implemented with all stakeholder agencies, including the Ministry of Works and Transport, Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management and other first response agencies to respond where needed. In addition, all Mayors, Chairmen and Chief Executive Officers, along with their respective technical teams are in full response mode, to provide any assistance needed by burgesses who were affected by the recent torrential rains. Clean-Up efforts and Initial Damage Assessments have begun as of 7am today and will continue until normalcy is regained across all affected municipalities.

  • The Ministry of Rural Development and Local Government continues to encourage citizens, especially those residing in flood prone areas, to add the 24-hour Disaster Management Hotline numbers to their list of emergency contacts and to take the necessary precautions to protect their property and lives.

Press Release- New CNMG board meets with Communications Minister

The Minister of Communications, the Honourable Stuart Young today handed over the instruments of appointment to the new board of Caribbean New Media Group (CNMG).

“I am happy to have met with the new board. I am looking forward to working closely with them to shape the new TTT into the number one station in Trinidad and Tobago,” Minister Young said.

The new TTT will be officially launched as early as this month offering a new line-up of local programming.

Minister Young is expected to meet with the staff of CNMG this week as the Government-funded station begins to transition to its new look and mandate.

Background

The newly appointed members comprise:

  • Lisa Agard – Chairman
  • Karen Lynch – Member
  • Dr. Rita Pemberton – Member
  • Anthony Bullock – Member
  • Nadira Lyder – Member
  • Dr. Jameel Sulimani – Member

Press Release- CNMG gets new board

The Cabinet has appointed a new board of directors to the Caribbean New Media Group (CNMG). The newly appointed members comprise:

  • Lisa Agard – Chairman
  • Karen Lynch – Member
  • Dr. Rita Pemberton – Member
  • Anthony Bullock – Member
  • Nadira Lyder – Member
  • Dr. Jameel Sulimani – Member

The Minister of Communications, the Honourable Stuart Young will be meeting with the new board to present them with their instruments of appointment and looks forward to discussing the exciting future of the rebranded TTT.

“The launch of the rebranded TTT will be taking place in the next few weeks at which time the population can expect new local programming which we hope will revolutionize the industry and create new opportunities,” said Minister Young.

 

MEDIA RELEASE – APPLICATIONS FOR INDIVIDUAL WORK PERMITS TO BE COMPLETED ONLY ON TTBIZLINK

MEDIA RELEASE

APPLICATIONS FOR INDIVIDUAL WORK PERMITS TO BE COMPLETED ONLY ON TTBIZLINK

20 June, 2018

The Ministry of National Security and the Ministry of Trade and Industry recently marked an important milestone with the announcement that all applications and extensions for Individual Work Permits will now be done online via TTBizLink at www.ttbizlink.gov.tt. This achievement signals a significant step forward for the Ministry of National Security and will result in a greatly enhanced application and processing experience and ultimately, more timely receipt of Individual Work Permits.

This accomplishment is the result of a period of close, collaborative partnership between the Work Permit Secretariat, Ministry of National Security and the TTBizLink Unit, Ministry of Trade and Industry. During this time, a concerted effort was made to refine the e-Work Permit Module on TTBizLink so that the user experience, both on the part of the applicant and the approver, would be more streamlined and efficient. In doing so, feedback from all stakeholders was carefully considered to ensure that all refinements would be value adding.

The e-Work Permit Module was launched on March 1, 2012 and since that time to now, eight hundred and forty five (845) companies and businesses have registered to access this Module. It is anticipated that this number will significantly increase given the full transition of the Individual Work Permits application system. Having realized this milestone, focus is now being placed on working toward the full transition to TTBizLink of Group Work Permits applications.

For further information persons can contact the Work Permit Secretariat at 623-5239 or 625-8425 Ext. 13000 to 13010. To access information on registering for TTBizLink, persons can contact the TTBizLink Help Desk by calling the toll free number 800-4739 on Mondays to Fridays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Alternatively, you can send an e-mail to support.ttbizlink@gov.tt.

PRESS RELEASE- BYE-ELECTIONS FOR BARATARIA AND BELMONT EAST

BYE-ELECTIONS FOR BARATARIA AND BELMONT EAST

Prime Minister Dr the Honourable Keith Rowley today, (June 06, 2018) advised President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Her Excellency Paula Mae-Weekes that Bye-Elections for the Municipal Electoral Districts of Barataria in the Region of San Juan/Laventille and Belmont East in the Port-of-Spain Corporation will be held on Monday July 16, 2018.

These seats became vacant due to the deaths of Councillors Pernell Bruno on July 08, 2017 and Darryl Rajpaul on November 18, 2017.

Prime Minister Rowley also advised the President that Nomination Day will be on June 25, 2018 and has requested that the Writs of Elections be issued in accordance with the provisions of Section 29 of the Municipal Corporations Act, Chapter 25:04.