Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 20th 2013 Contents A5
Wednesday, November 20, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
STORIES BY GAIL ALEXANDER
Government is examining the possibility
of issuing more FCB shares for public offer-
ing by next year, Finance Minister Larry
Howai hinted yesterday.
Speaking in the Senate on the Insurance
(Amendment) Bill, Howai also mentioned
Phoenix Park Gas Processors for public offer-
He said Government was trying to mul-
tiply companies on the stock exchange in
the next five years and had identified ini-
tiatives which soon would be rolled out.
Howai said the T&T Stock Market had a
very good year, making T&T s index grow
by 15 per cent, a very positive rate of growth,"
He said the volume of stocks was up $1
billion from 2012 and the volume of shares
traded this year was up 100 per cent.
Howai said the insurance amendment was
geared towards a comprehensive overhaul
of the sector from duties and power of the
inspector of the sector to governance issues.
He noted the sector contributed 15 per
cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP),
second to the energy sector, and had been
operating under outdated 1980 legislation.
The bill, presented in the last session of
Parliament, was examined by a Joint Select
Committee (JSC) which sought input from
sector stakeholders and also recruited a
Commonwealth expert, through the Parlia-
ment, for assistance on the issue.
He said the bill would continue to be
examined by a JSC in the session of Parlia-
Howai said the insurance sector, which
was worth $23 billion in assets (excluding
Clico figures), grew by 8.7 per cent in 2012
with claims of $1.5 billion.
He said Government had, during the Clico
crisis, sought to assist regional states against
the ill-effects of contagion.
He said given the weaknesses in some of
those regional states he was not sure T&T
quite staved off the risks the economy could
face given the financial risks "out there" in
He, however, said T&T had the strongest
banks in the region and those were well
capitalised and were strengthening the finan-
cial sector s regulatory framework.
The dates initially suggested for
the Prime Minister s state visit to
China early this month were never
set in stone and after postponing it
because of recent elections, the PM
may now visit China early next year,
perhaps by February or March,
Communications Minister Gerald
Hadeed has said.
The assistant to the Chinese
ambassador in T&T also said yesterday
while T&T had had elections in early
November, Chinese Government offi-
cials also had a very important meet-
ing---a Central Committee forum---
early this month and China and T&T
had agreed to postpone the visit. He
said China was now looking forward
to her visit.
Hadeed gave the update in the Par-
liament yesterday after questions from
the T&T Guardian.
Contacted yesterday on reasons for
the cancellation, Francis Joseph, press
secretary at the Office of the PM,
said: "Anthony Wilson from the
Guardian did a story on the same
queries last week and the reasons for
the postponement of the trip were
fully reported. He asked all of the
questions relative to the issue and I
In that story, Joseph noted, he was
quoted as saying the Prime Minister
postponed the China trip and decided
not to attend the Commonwealth
Heads of Government conference
because she had elections at home.
The local government polls were
on October 21 and St Joseph by-elec-
tion on November 4.
Joseph referred questions on the
consequences of the cancellation to
the Foreign Affairs Ministry. Minister
Winston Dookeran was unavailable,
his secretary said.
Hadeed added: "Some dates are
being suggested next year... February
"It s a great time for the Prime
Minister to visit China, since it also
celebrates the 40th year that T&T
forged diplomatic relations with China
so it will be a much better time to
visit and will also mark that occa-
"The question of a date definitely
has to be convenient for both sides.
It s not a one-way street in diplomatic
relations. We have great relations with
China and this will continue.
"There are absolutely no conse-
quences to postponement. We are
working towards the visit and on
building on our very good T&T/China
relations." The assistant to the ambas-
sador said all sides agreed to postpone
the suggested November trip.
"China is in close contact with T&T
and we are looking forward to the
visit of the Prime Minister and the
outcome of the meetings," he added.
Government is looking to a Virtual Police Officer
(VIPO) mechanism to allow citizens to give infor-
mation on crimes anonymously online in a bid to
increase the "totally unacceptable" crime detection
rate, standing at 10.9 per cent up to September.
National Security Minister Gary Griffith spoke
about the VIPO mechanism during yesterday s Senate
session in answering Opposition PNM s questions
on the murder and traffic accident rates.
Griffith said there were 289 murders during the
January to September 30, 2013 period, according to
police information. He said the murder rate and road
traffic deaths continue to be two important national
issues being given priority attention by the Police
He said detection rates on murders were 21.9 per
cent (2011); 16.1 per cent (2012) and 0.9 per cent
(January to September 2013).
Griffith said this year s level so far would increase
as more evidence was acquired and by year end may
go back to the figures that obtained in previous years
between 17 and 22 per cent.
The detection level when the murder rate was the
highest in 2008---during the existence of the Special
Anti Crime Unit---was 15.9 per cent, he added.
Saying the detection level was "totally unaccept-
able," Griffith said the problem affecting it was infor-
mation from people on crimes and critical support
for police operations.
He added: "There s a breakdown of support for
people to give police that information that s required
which can turn into evidence.
"It shows the need for customer training. We need
to weed out the rogue elements in the Police Service
and train police how to deal with customer service
for people to feel safe and comfortable enough to
He said the other avenue to increase the detection
rate was via the VIPO.
He added: "This makes every citizen a virtual
police office. There s no perfect crime, there s always
a witness in some form or structure and we need to
extract this information from the passers-by, on-
lookers, etc, and facilitate citizens being part of the
process in solving crime.
"But the challenge is people are afraid to go to
established state agencies as they lack confidence
and trust and feel that something will happen to
Griffith also defended the recent visit and input
of US crime fighter Bill Bratton whose trip, he said,
was not an anti-crime initiative as such.
He said decisions were made for years based on
"hit-and-hope" and not on empirical testing and
to get online
Meanwhile, Griffith said some 2,005 people were
charged between January 2011 and September 2013
with driving while over the legal alcohol limit following
He said road traffic deaths numbered 125 between
January to September 30, 2013.
Griffiths said legislation for use of laser gun
technology to track speeding vehicles would be
presented by early next year.
He said 400 laser guns would be used in vehicular
speed-trap work. He said it was often found that
people who were driving over the speed limit, were
under the influence of alcohol.
Other road safety initiatives include surveillance
bays, a marked increase in police presence on the
roads and daily stop-and-search exercises in all police
He also cited the rebranding of the Highway Patrol
arm "with 50 vehicles painted yellow and blue---and
not politically---but because this provides a higher level
2,005 CHARGED WITH DRUNK DRIVING
Howai in debate on Insurance Bill:
More FCB shares
for sale next year
NOW FOR NOW ACTION
Students from St Augustine Secondary School act out a scene from the play Now for Now
during the semi-finals of the Secondary Schools' Drama Festival at the Naparima Bowl, San
Fernando, yesterday. The scene depicts the character Cuthbert, played by Nicholas Bradshaw,
parting a fight between his two lovers. PHOTO: TONY HOWELL
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