Daily Brief - Friday 15th May, 2020


TTMA wants all manufacturers back to work by Monday

The country’s manufacturers believe that current safety protocols among essential services prove that all parts of the sector are ready and able to come back out to work. In a release on Thursday, the TT Manufacturers’ Association said the performance of the 273 manufacturers classified as essential services should be enough to confirm that the “robust guidelines and protocols that the sector has put in place…are working, and working well.” These protocols include hygiene control, shuttles for staff where possible to minimise use of public transport, no external visitors to factories, working from home, and shift systems incorporating social distancing, proper protective wear and additional training. To date there has been no known case of covid19 spread in a factory setting in TT, the association said. Read more here



Griffith: Firearm users’ licences for farmers soon

Police Commissioner Gary Griffith is promising farmers that the police service will do all it can to deal with those who are stealing farmers’ crops and livestock. On Thursday, Griffith met a representative group of the farmers at police headquarters, Edward St, Port of Spain, to talk about the problem and find possible solutions. "The Praedial Larceny Unit, the TTPS and you – the farmers, we have work together to deal with this situation. "These criminal elements – if they decide to target you, I give you the assurance that I intend to target them. The TTPS will do all in our power.” Griffith said the problem of produce and livestock theft appears to be one perpetuated by a "well organised group." Read more here

$8,000 in fines for people found sea bathing

The group of people found breaching the Public Health Ordinance meant to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus has been fined a combined total of $8,000. The accused are: Leticia Debideen, Nakisha Hewitt, Natasha Meade, Martin Hunter, Atiba Phillip, Gilanni Ash and Terric Jack.Six of them are from Cocorite but Hunter is from St Ann’s. A release issued by the T&T Police Service (TTPS) said the seven people appeared virtually before Magistrate Sarah De Silva and all pleaded guilty. Read more here



Rowley: Don't call me a liar over Delcy's visit

The Prime Minister has said only Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez and Asdrubal Chavez, who was not the president of PDVSA at that time, met with him at the Diplomatic Centre in March. Dr Rowley posted the comment on Facebook in reply to criticism in the Thursday Guardian's editorial. The Government has said Rodriguez's visit was to discuss the covid19 pandemic. Read more here

PM: I was not given Chavez’s portfolio

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley is insisting he did not know what portfolio Asdrubal Chavez held when he met with him and Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez on March 27th.While he admits to meeting With Rodriguez and Chavez, he said Chavez was not an official at PDVSA at the time and was only promoted to the post weeks later. The Prime Minister addressed the issue in response to a Trinidad Guardian editorial yesterday which called on the Government to make public the Paria Fuel Trading contract involving fuel tycoon Wilmer Ruperti and confirm whether a letter sent from Minister of National Security Stuart Young exempting the Venezuelan delegation to enter T&T was genuine. The letter, dated March 26, 2020, was addressed to Chief Immigration Officer Charmaine Gandhi-Andrews and signed by the Security Ministry permanent secretary Gary Joseph. The list contradicted claims by Young that he was unaware of who came with Rodriguez on the plane, as the men’s names were listed along with their passport numbers. Read more here



Women in the post-covid workplace

When Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announced the appointment of a 22-member team to steer the country forward in the face of the covid19 pandemic, criticism arose over the gender composition of the group – only three women were named, 13.6 per cent of the entire committee. Calls for a balanced gender ratio were ridiculed by some, giving corroboration to the disparity as evidence of a long-existing worldwide trend – the severe underrepresentation of women in leadership, policy-making positions, and management. Women make up a mere seven per cent of heads of state and hold only 24 per cent of positions in national parliaments worldwide. But, looking at the data on countries that have been responsibly and successfully navigating the covid19 pandemic crisis, there is a common thread woven through the cloth of efficiency and effectiveness: women leaders have been outperforming their male counterparts. Read more here

COVID-19—taking a stand

Now that we are clear on where I stand let us also be clear that there are elements of those outcomes that we face every day that we can control and there are elements that are entirely outside of our control. Yet every day all of us manage the risks between what we can control and what we cannot control and do so normally. It is part of life. We do not fear this and for many we rely on faith when circumstances get the better of us. What we do fear is the risk of many of us dying at the same time. We are wired to fear such outcomes because in our social evolution a number of persons dying at the same time within a tribe or sect posed a risk to the very existence of the group itself. That therefore was something to avoid as much as possible. Read more here

ANSA McAL Q1 profits drop 72%

T&T’s largest conglomerate, the ANSA McAL group, yesterday reported after-tax profits in its first quarter that declined by 72 per cent, dropping to $44.56 million in the three months to March 31, 2020 from $157.36 million for the same period in 2019. Read more here



‘Cheap politics’

Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Commissioner Vincent Alexander has stated that he is in consultation with his lawyers following the public accusations of Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo that he is involved in electoral fraud. “Vincent Alexander is part of the plot to rig the elections. Vincent Alexander was one of the architects of the plot to rig the elections and it’s being unfolded now,” were the words of Jagdeo on Wednesday. Read more here

‘Worse than prison’ - Holness, Tufton apologise for quarantine food fiasco

Smarting from backlash over quarantine conditions for returning Jamaicans at two St Ann hotels, Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton yesterday apologised for a slew of logistical foul-ups, including rooming delays and substandard meals. But one high-profile entertainment personality has described the treatment of quarantined Jamaicans as “worse than prison”. The food fiasco overshadowed the country’s first recording of zero coronavirus cases in 24 hours in over more than 50 days. Read more here



Coronavirus: Baltic states open a pandemic 'travel bubble'

The Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have opened their borders to one another, creating a coronavirus "travel bubble". From midnight on Thursday, citizens and residents can move freely between the three EU nations. Anybody arriving from outside the zone however must self-isolate for 14 days. This is the first "travel bubble" in Europe since nations began shutting their borders earlier this year in response to the coronavirus outbreak. European Union officials are now trying to encourage other countries to end restrictions on movement as concerns grow about the economic impact of the lockdown. The Baltic states expect their economies to shrink by up to 8% this year. Read more here

Trump is appealing to Americans who have lost jobs not lives. And it may work.

With his crusade to open America, President Donald Trump is betting for the second election in a row that he's got a better feel for the mood of the country than his opponents. Trump's calculation to reject science and push to swiftly crank up an economy with the nation still ravaged by Covid-19 could kill many more than the 85,000 Americans who have already died. That seems a price Trump is willing to pay as he appeals directly to the many millions of Americans who are also victims of the pandemic, but who have paid with their jobs, not their lives. That's a message that could resonate. Read more here

15th May 2020


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