Major decisions announced at Post-Cabinet media briefing

Cabinet has approved a parcel of land for the relocation of the Montrose Vedic Primary School, Minister of National Security, Communications and Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Stuart Young informed at the post-cabinet media briefing on Thursday March 7, 2019.

He said the land has been granted through an institutional lease for the relocation of the school.

However, Cabinet was shocked to learn that the initial request for the relocation was made under the previous administration on October 17, 2011. The request for relocation came when unexplained itching and skin infections became an issue at the school.

Lands were approved by the Land Settlement Agency in 2013 but were not distributed. Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries the Honourable Clarence Rambharat was only informed of the situation in December 2018 and moved immediately to find a resolution and identified a suitable piece of land for the relocation of the School.

Minister Young apologised to all of the families who are affected by the absence of a pathologist.

Autopsies at the Forensics Science Centre are expected to resume within the next 24 hours, he assured. 

He said when he was notified of the problem he immediately moved to find another pathologist to supplement and augment the resources at the Centre.

A pathologist was retained from the North Central Regional Health Authority and it is expected that he will take up duty at the Forensic Sciences Centre on March 7, 2019.

Minister Young announced that the Government will work with the United Nations Development Programme which will assist with securing more pathologists for Trinidad and Tobago.

He also put the country on alert for two possible changes to Carnival in 2020: the banning of all glass bottles for Carnival Monday and Tuesday and possibly at all parties leading up to those two days and the shortening of the Carnival period to allow for all events to end at 9 pm on Carnival Tuesday.

He said he intends to engage stakeholders on the ban of glass bottles from a security point of view as glass bottles are used as weapons.

The Minister said the proposal for the shortened period is due to security concerns and data which show there is an increase in crimes as the sun goes down on Carnival Tuesday.

He assured that the Ministry of National Security will engage stakeholders on both proposals before Cabinet makes its decision.

In the meantime, the Minister of Finance and acting Prime Minister Colm Imbert said damage to a Caribbean Airlines ATR aircraft on Wednesday March 6, 2019 should not affect the domestic airbridge during the upcoming Easter and August vacations.

On Wednesday at approximately 11:15 the ATR aircraft was being taken from the ramp to the hanger at Piarco International Airport when it came into contact with a wall of the terminal building and sustained some damage to the nose, skin and possibly the framing and radar of the aircraft.

Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Honourable Minister Colm Imbert assured that the airline will have its full complement of aircraft in the shortest possible time.

Before the accident, CAL entered discussions with Liat for an aircraft similar to the one that was damaged. These discussions are already far advanced.

Minister Imbert said the preliminary estimated cost may be around US$1 million. It is expected the airline's insurance will cover the cost of repairs.

Investigations regarding the cause the incident is ongoing.

Acting Prime Minister Imbert also disclosed a potential foreign investment from NCB Jamaica for a takeover bid of Guardian Holdings of Trinidad and Tobago.

He said Government welcomes any investment in Trinidad and Tobago particularly from within the CARICOM region.

However, he said there are two issues that need to be examined:

1. In terms of payment for the shares whether they should be paid for right away or if they should be paid via loan from some of the shareholders. 
2. Whether the company is owned by a Jamaican or Canadian entity.

These two matters are being reviewed in the context of the applicable laws.

Government is also looking at who controls NCB Global Holdings Ltd, a Trinidadian registered company seeking to buy the shares.

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