Daily Brief - Friday 16th October, 2020

NEWS

Police, Griffith under microscope

With at least three police officers facing the courts recently for various offences, as well as numerous police-involved shooting deaths of civilians, the Police Service Commission (PSC) initiated a three-week-long survey on the performance of the police service. This is the first independent public survey done on the police service since CoP Gary Griffith took up leadership of the organisation in 2018. The police did their own survey in August last year, earning high marks. On September 2, Griffith said he received a “very good” rating in his first appraisal from the PSC, with a total of 81.69 marks. Read more here

18 nurses quarantined after COVID tests

Over the past two weeks, some 18 nurses at the Port-of-Spain General Hospital have been tested for COVID-19 and placed into immediate quarantine. According to the T&T Registered Nurses’ Association president Idi Stuart, this is not the first such occurrence and it is expected as par for the course in the fight against the virus. “There have been several instances where staff had been exposed to positive cases. While there is a screening process for incoming patients, it has not prevented patients with underlying illnesses from entering—particularly COVID-19,” he told Guardian Media in a telephone interview yesterday. Read more here

 

POLITICS

MPs divided on cap on VIP tax breaks

Government MPs on Thursday supported the Prime Minister’s proposal that Cabinet consider capping tax exemptions for new cars for public office holders. with the exception of judges, at $350,000. But opposition MPs were sceptical about this proposal, which Dr Rowley made in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, in his contribution to the budget debate. He was responding to a challenge by Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar to consider tax exemptions on the purchase of vehicles by MPs. Read more here

PM hits back at UK MP who raised stranded nationals’ plight

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley last night hit back at the British MP who raised the plight of Trinidad and Tobago nationals stranded in the UK due to the closure of T&T borders since March. Speaking at a People’s National Movement post-Budget meeting in Belmont, Rowley described Steven Baker, the Conservative representative for Wycomb, as an “itinerant UK MP” that the United National Congress had found to raise the issue in the UK Parliament. Rowley said he had expressed his concern about the matter when he met with the newly-appointed British High Commission to T&T Harriet Cross on Tuesday. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Fair competition must prevail

Amid public fears that Government’s intended sell-off and privatisation of all gas stations operated by the National Petroleum Marketing Company (NP) could harm competition and result in the creation of cartels/monopolies, the Trinidad and Tobago Fair Trading Commission, is assuring that under its watch. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

GuySuCo employees ambushed, robbed

Two suspects are in custody, including an ex-prison officer, for reportedly relieving a GuySuCo Supernumerary Constable of his firearm, ammunition, cellphone and $25,000, during efforts by GuySuCo on Thursday, to reclaim lands from squatters at Success by flooding it for cultivation of sugarcane. Pump attendant, Sabastian Rajeet, was also attacked and robbed of his cellphone. The incident occurred around 16: 15 hours, police say. Read more here

Toots Hibberts' Burial Stalls As No Permit Provided

The burial of legendary reggae singer Toots Hibbert had to be abandoned today as the family could not produce an order authorising the interment. Following a private service at the chapel of Perry’s Funeral Home In St Catherine, close family members travelled to the Dovecot Memorial Gardens for the interment when it was discovered that there was no burial permit. "Nobody in the family had the burial order in their possession and without a signed burial order, the body cannot be placed in the grave," said one source who was at the cemetery. Burial orders are obtained from the Registrar General's Department after a certificate of the cause of death signed by a doctor is presented. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Trump and Biden and America's two, polarized political realities live on prime time

More than 800 Americans died from Covid-19 Thursday, yet President Donald Trump still played the victim. On a night of simultaneous town halls on rival TV channels, Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden played out the roles of aggrieved incumbent and comfortable front-runner after the cancellation of their second debate. As a metaphor for a divided America, Thursday night was just about perfect. In a starkly polarized nation, voters could tune in to the channel where their candidate was saying exactly what they wanted to hear. The undecided -- a small cohort two-and-a-half weeks from Election Day with millions of votes already cast -- faced a challenging night with an itchy clicker finger. Read more here

Fukushima: Japan 'to release contaminated water into sea'

Japan is to release treated radioactive water from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea, media reports say. It follows years of debate over how to dispose of the liquid, which includes water used to cool the power station hit by a massive tsunami in 2011. Environmental and fishing groups oppose the idea but many scientists say the risk it would pose is low. The government says no final decision has been made. The release of more than a million tonnes of water, which has been filtered to reduce radioactivity, would start in 2022 at the earliest, according to Japanese media outlets including national dailies the Nikkei and the Yomiuri Shimbun. Read more here

16th October 2020

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