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Published:Saturday | July 20, 2019 | 12:00 AM

Alpart upgrade pushed back

KINGSTON, Jamaica (CMC):

The Jamaican Government says the first stage of the rehabilitation and upgrading programme at the Chinese-owned Jiuquan Iron and Steel Company (JISCO)/Alpart had been rescheduled for completion by the first quarter of 2020.

Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister, Mike Henry, told Parliament that the project “will result in production moving from the current level of 800,000 tonnes of alumina per annum, to a projected two million tonnes per year, providing critical raw material input for potential occupants of the Jamaica-Gansu Industrial Park (JGIP)”.

The ground-breaking ceremony for the industrial park was originally scheduled for the first quarter of 2019, by which time the initial programme of rehabilitation and upgrading of the existing power plant and refinery at Alpart was expected to have been completed.

But Henry noted that unreliable production, combined with a significant overall fall in alumina prices over the last two years, from a high of US$700 per tonne to the current level of below US$400 per tonne, has impacted the timeline for the JGIP.

The railway from the plant to the port is being upgraded, and the port will be refurbished to accommodate the increased level of alumina production, which is necessary to drive the anchor facilities in the industrial park.

The refurbished and expanded port facilities will support the materials coming in and products going out of the industrial park, as companies develop their operations within the proposed special economic zone.



T&T's Rowley dismisses call to resign

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC):

Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley on Thursday brushed aside a call from the main opposition United National Congress (UNC) for him to resign over the 'emailgate' fiasco.

During a press conference, Rowley also said that there is no need for him to apologise to Opposition Leader Kamla Persad Bissessar.

Rowley was responding to an announcement on Wednesday by the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) that it has officially closed the investigation.

He also stated that he will not go down the Opposition’s “rabbit hole”, and accused the UNC of “twisting” the “facts” as is outlined in the file handed to the TTPS by the director of public prosecutions.

On Wednesday, the UNC said Rowley lacked “the competence, compassion, intelligence and character to lead Trinidad and Tobago.”

The emailgate scandal arose when then Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley presented a printed email thread which he claimed was the correspondence of a criminal conspiracy implicating then Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and members of her Government.

In a statement on Wednesday, the UNC said it was vindicated that the investigation was proven to be a hoax and conspiracy “piloted by Keith Rowley and the PNM”.



Court orders Warner to pay near million-dollar award

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC):

The Court of Appeal has ordered former government minister and international football executive, Austin Jack Warner, to pay nearly TT$1 million in compensation to a deputy mayor dating back to an incident six years ago.

The Court of Appeal this week held that Warner, who was then the chairman of the Independent Liberal Party (ILP) be given 90 days in which to pay the deputy mayor of Chaguanas in Central Trinidad, Faaiq Mohammed, the earlier court-ordered compensation of TT$737,666.67 for an attack on Mohammed’s character in 2013.

However, if Warner is successful in his appeal to the London-based Privy Council, the country’s highest court, the money will be returned to him.

The Court of Appeal has granted the former national security minister and vice-president of the International Football Federation (FIFA) conditional leave to challenge the judge’s ruling that he defamed the deputy mayor while campaigning.

Mohammed did not object to leave being granted to Warner, but objected to a stay of the payment of the compensation until the Privy Council ruling.

Warner had accused Mohammed, who was an ILP councillor in the Chaguanas Borough Corporation, of accepting a TT$2.5 million bribe to vote for a United National Congress candidate for the post of presiding officer during the corporation’s first meeting.

Warner had also threatened to “deal with” Mohammed and ensure that his political career is finished.

In 2014, after Mohammed, who was expelled from the party, filed a defamation claim in the High Court, Warner conceded liability at the trial despite offering no apology for the comments.