Daily Brief - Friday 12th June, 2020


Arima hospital to be operational within a month

The Arima general hospital will be operationalised on a phased basis, beginning on Monday next week. North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA) CEO Davlin Thomas said the facility, which was opened on Tuesday, will be fully operational within one month. He said in-patient services would begin next week. These would include supporting services such as the pharmacy and laboratories. Some patients from the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex (EWMSC) would be transferred to the hospital. In the following weeks, same-day surgeries and cataract surgeries would begin, while haemodialysis would begin in the third week. Some of the services from the Arima district health facility, particularly the emergency services aspect, will then be transferred to the hospital. Read more here



Brian Manning: Full support for Dr Rowley

PNM San Fernando East candidate Brian Manning fully supports PNM political leader Dr Keith Rowley. He said this is notwithstanding the past relationship that Rowley had with his father – former prime minister, San Fernando East MP and PNM political leader – Patrick Manning, who died on July 2, 2016. Speaking with reporters at San Fernando City Hall on Thursday, Manning described his relationship with Rowley as "extremely cordial." He said, "Dr Rowley, I believe, has decided to put TT first and I am in full support of that." Recalling the relationship his father had with Rowley, Manning said, "My father and Dr Rowley may have had the same goal but they are different kinds of people." He added, "They may have had different views on how to achieve that. They are both very strong-willed individuals." Read more here

Warao Queen calls on Mayor to remove Columbus Statue

The Queen of the Warao Nation, Donna Bermudez-Bovell, is calling on Mayor Joel Martinez to convene an urgent meeting to discuss the removal of Christopher Columbus from his place of public reverence in Port of Spain, following his public pronouncement to engage the matter on Wednesday. The contentious statue is located on the corner of Independence Square and Duncan Street, in the capital city. In a news release issued by the Cross Rhodes Freedom Project, the Warao Nation Queen lamented the fact that indigenous people continue to be un-represented in the built environment of the capital city. “Archaeological evidence shows that the indigenous people of this country have been here for at least seven thousand five hundred years and that Port of Spain was an important indigenous settlement,” Bermudez-Bovell said. “It seems the city even now prefers to celebrate the architect of native genocide.” Read more here



Grow your food

Since the outbreak of covid19 the issue of food security has been on the minds of many. TT imports a significant amount of food – the Ministry of Agriculture notes the food import bill in 2019 was $5.3 billion – and now that international supply and demand chains are disrupted because of the pandemic, food security is foremost on the minds of many. It might not be much, but some people think they may have found a solution, and it is right in their backyards. As people continue to practise social distancing, those who can are turning their backyards into small gardens, giving them access to safe, healthy food. Even the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader have showed off on social media their well-tended kitchen gardens. Read more here

Hospitals will become ghost towns

President of the T&T Registered Nurses’ Association Idi Stuart yesterday warned that hospitals around the country could become ghost towns if Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh does not attend to nurses’ concerns. He said health workers, who are on the frontlines of T&T’s fight against COVID-19, were upset at an announcement on Wednesday that millions of dollars will be spent on stipends for teachers to prepare students for the Secondary Entrance Assessment. “We cannot understand after we would have been the front of the frontliners being used to tackle this COVID response; how our government would not see it fit to recognise tangibly the efforts of nurses and midwives in this COVID-19 response,” Stuart said. While insisting that there is no animosity between nurses and teachers, the health workers felt it was “total disrespect” and “the most hurtful thing that has happened to the nursing profession in quite a while,” and that money was found to offer extra compensation to workers in another area of the public sector. Read more here



‘Ralph jumps the gun’

The APNU+AFC Coalition has expressed surprise and disappointment at the remarks of incoming CARICOM Chair and Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, who put a limitation on the actions the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) could take in dealing with the ongoing elections. On Wednesday’s Edition of “Your Morning Cup with Colvin Harry”, aired on State-owned NBC Radio in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. Gonsalves stated: “We expect the CARICOM observer mission to deliver its report, and we expect that what is the recount would be honoured, and the Guyana Elections Commission will honour that recount and declare the winner in accordance with this recount. And anybody who then wants to challenge anything afterwards can go to court, but you have to declare the winner in accordance with the recount… I know a lot of opposition parties when they lose, or anybody who loses they say, ‘Oh, so and so thief.’ It’s almost a boring repetition; we get the reports, follow the law and who wins, wins.” Read more here

Travellers To Be Swabbed For COVID-19

Days after coming under pressure from medical professionals about COVID-19 protocols for visitors, the Government said yesterday that all arriving tourists will be tested for the new coronavirus as of June 15. Officials confirmed the policy declaration, due to emerging concerns over risk profiles of coronavirus-troubled nations like the United States, during a digital press conference yesterday evening. “We view this as a positive step as no single process works with 100 per cent accuracy in relation to the screening of persons for COVID,” president of the Medical Association of Jamaica (MAJ), Dr Andrew Manning, told The Gleaner shortly after Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett confirmed the changes Thursday night. Read more here



Coronavirus death rates in Yemen's Aden could exceed its wartime fatalities

Ghasan Saleh starts digging graves at the break of dawn to prepare for the dead bodies that will come in droves. Two men in white hazmat suits appear atop an approaching pickup truck. They hastily drop a corpse into a hole and cover it with dirt. The health workers come and go in near-silence. Fear of infection means there are no mourners for those suspected to have died from Covid-19. The cycle of digging and abrupt funerals continues under the blistering sun and suffocating humidity of Aden, the seat of power of the UN-recognized government in war-torn Yemen. Read more here

Seattle's Chaz police-free zone

State authorities in the north-western US state of Washington have hit back after President Donald Trump threatened to "take back" a police-free district controlled by protesters in Seattle. Governor Jay Inslee said Mr Trump should stay out of the state's business, and Seattle's mayor said any invasion of the city would be illegal. Police abandoned a precinct there on Monday after days of clashes. Mr Trump said the area had been overtaken by "domestic terrorists". Since police withdrew, demonstrations in the area have been largely peaceful. It has been called Chaz, an abbreviation of Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone. Hundreds of people have been gathering there to demonstrate, hear speeches and attend events. Read more here

12th June 2020


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