Category: Press Releases

Ministry of Rural Development and Local Government meets with Ministry of Education to discuss school repairs

June 5th, 2018– Yesterday afternoon, Minister of Rural Development and Local Government Haji Kazim Hosein and Minister of Education Anthony Garcia came together with officials of both Ministries as well as Mayors, Chairmen and Chief Executive Officers from the fourteen Municipal Corporations to discuss the vacation school repair programme.

 

As part of local government reform, the Ministry of Rural Development and Local Government has been pushing for the maintenance and repair of public buildings to become part of the expanded responsibilities of the Municipal Corporations. Minister Haji Kazim Hosein said, “The vacation school repair programme is the first step towards this aspect of local government reform that we intend to implement. All Mayors and Chairmen with the support of their CEOs have expressed their willingness and commitment to making this happen, and to ensure that all schools within their boundaries are in a state of readiness for the start of the upcoming academic year.”

 

Works have already been scoped by the Ministry of Education and it is seeking to engage the Municipal Corporations for drainage, plumbing and electrical repairs. Engaging the Municipal Corporations to undertake these works will decentralise maintenance and repair projects and allow for more timely and efficient implementation to ensure that all schools can be opened on time. This initiative is a part of the promise of local government reform made by this Government.

 

Dillon urges citizens to respect the rule of law

The Minister of National Security Major General (Ret’d) the Honourable Edmund Dillon is today encouraging all citizens to respect the rule of law when attempting to execute a citizen’s arrest in accordance with the Criminal Law Act Chapter 10:04 Section 3 (2).

 

Minister Dillon offers condolences to the family of Mr. Ashdale Mc Hutchinson and condemns the fatal attack on him. He noted in this case that, that prior to making a citizen’s arrest, law enforcement personnel should have been immediately alerted rather than residents resorting to taking the matter into their own hands.

 

Citizens have the power under the Criminal Law Act Chapter 10:04 Section 3 (2) to make a citizen’s arrest in two instances: if a person is in the act of committing an arrestable or serious offense, or was witnessed committing an offence. Anything outside of these parameters would be considered illegal, especially if assault is involved.

 

The Minister is calling on citizens to work closely with law enforcement to police their respective communities in an effort to reduce crime and lawlessness.

MEDIA RELEASE – HDC continues eviction of illegal occupants in Maloney

In the past week, the Trinidad and Tobago Housing Development Corporation (HDC) partnered with the protective service and defence force to evict a number of illegal occupants from its housing in Maloney Gardens.

The evictions are part of an ongoing targeted programme by the corporation to address the challenge of illegal occupants in its communities. The HDC is resolute in its attempts to complete this process to ensure that families who qualify for and are genuinely in need of public housing, are able to have access to units.

In commenting on the issue, HDC Managing Director said: “The HDC always tries to exercise compassion and understanding for genuine cases. However, the number of illegal occupants has increased over the years and the situation therefore can no longer be tolerated. We will continue with this eviction exercise and subsequently repair those previously occupied units so that they can now be offered to deserving home owners.”

The HDC also intends to continue its efforts to convert holders of Licence to Occupy (LTO) and Rent To Own (RTO) agreements to mortgages which can provide the corporation with an estimated $3bn to complete other housing developments and provide affordable shelter opportunities for qualified applicants.

MEDIA RELEASE – Prime Minister Rowley to Travel to China and Australia

Prime Minister Rowley to Travel to China and Australia

The Office of the Prime Minister is pleased to announce that the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr the Honourable Keith Rowley has accepted an invitation from the People’s Republic of China for an Official Visit to China starting in Beijing, China on May 14, 2018.

The Honourable Prime Minister will lead a delegation which includes Senator the Honorable Dennis Moses, the Minister of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs, the Honourable Stuart R. Young, M.P., Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister and Minister in the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs, Commodore Hayden Pritchard, Chief of Defence Staff, and the Chairmen of Caribbean Airlines Limited and Lake Asphalt of Trinidad and Tobago (1978) Limited. Mrs. Sharon Rowley will also accompany Dr Rowley on the official visit.

The delegation is expected to depart from Trinidad and Tobago on Saturday 12 May, 2018 arriving in Beijing, China on Monday 14 May, 2018 for the commencement of the official visit.

Trinidad and Tobago and China have been working on a number of initiatives in various areas including, finance, tourism, construction and the airline industries and towards mutual benefits associated with President Xi Jinping’s One Belt and One Road initiative. It is expected that Trinidad and Tobago will sign a number of MOUs with the People’s Republic of China on this visit and the leaders will reaffirm the importance of the relationship to each country.

The Official Visit to China will end on May 19 and the Honourable Prime Minister and Mrs Rowley, along with Ministers Moses and Young will then travel to Australia as a result of the Honourable Prime Minister having accepted an invitation from the Australian Government for a working visit to Australia.

The discussions in Australia will focus on national security issues, possible financing arrangements and the possibility of purchasing ferries for the sea bridge between Trinidad and Tobago.

The delegation is expected to visit Perth, Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney in Australia before returning to Trinidad.

The Hon. Colm Imbert will act as Prime Minister during the period that Dr Rowley is out of the country.

END

Media Release- No plan by Government to increase the retirement age

MEDIA RELEASE

NO PLAN BY GOVERNMENT TO INCREASE THE RETIREMENT AGE

The Minister of Finance, Hon. Colm Imbert, MP, has taken note of an article in today’s Newsday entitled “Roget Slams Govt’s Proposal to raise Retirement Age to 65” in which the leader of the Joint Trade Union Movement, Ancel Roget, is quoted as saying that the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance have floated the idea of increasing the retirement age from 60 to 65 as a means of denying workers their legitimate rights to National Insurance benefits.

The Minister of Finance wishes to make it clear this statement by Mr. Roget is completely untrue. At no time has the Prime Minister or the Minister of Finance indicated that the Government intends to increase the retirement age.

Indeed, as far back as January 2017, over a year ago, at the opening of the new NIB Headquarters in Port of Spain, the Minister of Finance stressed, in his feature address at that event, that pushing back the retirement age was not government policy and that no decision had been taken on the matter.

The Government’s position on the retirement age has since been raised in Parliament on several occasions since January 2017 and on every occasion the Minister of Finance has made it clear that the Government has no plan to increase the retirement age and that no decision has been taken by the Government on this matter.

JTUM’s allegation that the Government is proposing to increase the retirement age in order to deny workers their retirement benefits is therefore completely erroneous and unfounded.

– END –

MEDIA RELEASE

Minister of Finance signs Policy-Based Loan Agreement to

Support Medium-Term Fiscal Consolidation

The Honourable Colm Imbert, Minister of Finance on Monday, April 23rd 2018 signed the first tranche of a Policy-Based Loan Agreement in the sum of US$180 million with the Corporación Andina De Fomento (CAF) Development Bank. The total loan of US$300 million will be used for the implementation of the Programme to support Government’s “Medium-term Fiscal Consolidation Strategy – Phase II”, to boost potential growth and reduce the economy’s vulnerability to external fluctuations and volatility of external terms of trade.

This programme aims to increase fiscal revenues; improve public expenditure efficiency and accountability; strengthen public debt management and promote fiscal policy sustainability. Policy actions which will be supported under the loan agreement include:

· Tax policy reform for the energy sector

· Corporation tax reform

· Implementation of an environmental tax

· Improve public procurement mechanisms

· Strengthening of the Central Audit Committee of the Ministry of Finance

· Review of the Public Debt Legislation

· Improvement of the Bond Market

· Establishment and operationalization of the National Investment Fund

· Monitoring fiscal consolidation progress

The loan is being pursued under the International Financial Organizations (Corporación Andina De Fomento) Act No. 5 of 2017.

‘CAF is a development bank created in 1970, owned by 19 countries – 17 of which are Latin American and Caribbean countries, Spain and Portugal- in addition to 13 private banks in the region.

CAF promotes a sustainable development model through credit operations, non-reimbursable resources, and support in the technical and financial structuring of projects in the public and private sectors of Latin America’.

-End-

MEDIA RELEASE

MINISTRY OF NATIONAL SECURITY
Corporate Communications Unit

MEDIA RELEASE

GOVERNMENT CLARIFIES INFORMATION ON ASYLUM SEEKERS

23 April, 2018

The Government of Trinidad and Tobago respects the rights of any person to seek asylum in Trinidad and Tobago and the decision of any foreign national to voluntarily return to their country of nationality.

The Government of Trinidad and Tobago also has a right to repatriate any foreign national who is found to be in breach of the laws of Trinidad and Tobago and will take the necessary steps to ensure repatriation. To this end the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and the Government of Venezuela have been engaged in discussions to reduce the length of detention for those Venezuelan nationals in breach of the laws of Trinidad and Tobago and to repatriate them to their homeland as soon as practicable.

Following revelations by the Chief Immigration Officer at a Joint Select Committee of Parliament on April 6th 2018, that 89 Venezuelan nationals were detained for various offences at the Immigration Detention Centre (IDC), officials from the Venezuelan Embassy visited the nationals detained at the IDC on Friday April 13th 2018 to ascertain their well-being and identify their needs for repatriation. Subsequently, at the request of the Venezuelan Ambassador, a meeting was held between the Ministry of National Security and the Venezuelan Embassy on Tuesday April 17th, 2018 to discuss the situation.

The Venezuelan Ambassador stated that her fellow citizens expressed a desire to return to Venezuela and she had assured them that the Government of Venezuela would do everything possible to assist them in returning home. The Minister of National Security also gave the assurance that his Ministry would work with the Embassy to facilitate the repatriation.

On Friday April 20th 2018, at the request of the Venezuelan Embassy, the Immigration Division facilitated all Venezuelan nationals in detention who agreed to go to their Embassy to obtain travel documents to return to Venezuela; 102 persons were transported to the Embassy. None of the nationals expressed fear or objection to be taken to the Embassy. The detainees were informed by the Venezuelan officials that a plane would be sent from Venezuela to take them home on Saturday April 21st 2018. At the same time, a diplomatic note was sent to the Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs seeking permission to land a Venezuelan aircraft to specifically repatriate Venezuelan citizens detained at the Immigration Detention Centre.

On Saturday April 21st 2018, through the collaborative effort of the Ministry of National Security and the Venezuelan Embassy, a Venezuelan military aircraft landed at Piarco International Airport to effect the repatriation. Eighty-two (82) Venezuelan nationals comprising 53 men and 29 women voluntarily left the Immigration Detention Centre with Detention and Immigration Officers to be repatriated to their homeland. Nineteen (19) of the one hundred and two (102) could not be repatriated as warrants have been issued for them to serve varying terms of imprisonment in Trinidad and Tobago, having been convicted for various offences.

At the Airport, each person was asked if they had any fear or objection to returning to their homeland – all stated that they wanted to leave. Each signed the necessary documents for their departure before being handed their travel document by Immigration Officers and having their personal property checked by Customs officials. Prior to boarding the aircraft, each individual was again asked by a different set of officials if they had any fear of returning to their homeland; each again responded in the negative and willingly boarded a bus with their belongings to be taken to the aircraft. No one was forced or coerced to leave the IDC, board the bus or the aircraft. The entire exercise was recorded by the Trinidad and Tobago Air Guard.

The Government of Trinidad and Tobago has been collaborating with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to ensure the protection of persons fleeing persecution and will continue to support the work of the UNHCR while maintaining law and order and national security interests of Trinidad and Tobago.

The Immigration Division has received reports that foreign nationals have been entering the country and are being required to pay a fee to facilitate a claim for asylum, even though they are not entering the country as refugees. Further reports to the Immigration Division allege that these foreigners are being advised that that they cannot be ‘touched by Immigration’ once they receive an Asylum Seeker Certificate and that they can live and work freely in Trinidad and Tobago even though they do not have the requisite legal documents. These allegations are being investigated by the appropriate agencies.

The Government of Trinidad and Tobago is concerned that many foreigners have entered the country illegally or have overstayed the landing permission granted to them by the Immigration Division and, as a result, may become susceptible to exploitation because of their irregular immigration status. These breaches of national security will not be tolerated by this Government and every effort will be taken to prevent exploitation of foreign nationals, while at the same time, we continue to protect this country’s borders.