Daily Brief - Friday 19th February, 2021


Central Bank: 1,700 workers retrenched as covid19 puts strain on labour market

More than 1,700 workers were retrenched from July-November 2020, the Central Bank said on Thursday in its Economic Bulletin. The bulletin also reported a contraction in domestic economic activity and reduced revenue, which contributed to a larger deficit in the last half of 2020. The bank said through its monitoring of retrenchment notices, it counted 1,728 retrenchments in the five-month period. For the same period the year before, there were 577 retrenchments. The report said the number represents a 200 per cent increase. Read more here

Nurses Association wants consultation on vaccines

The president of the Registered Nurses Association Idi Stuart is calling for the association to be included in the decision-making process within the public healthcare system. Speaking during CNC3's The Morning Brew, Stuart commended the Ministry of Health's handling of the COVID-19 outbreak but noted the association wanted a seat at the table. Read more here



Rowley addresses vaccine equity at WHO covid19 conference

The Prime Minister, as the current chairman of Caricom, has called on the World Health Organization (WHO) to discuss the equitable distribution of covid19 vaccines, amid global claims that rich countries are hoarding the drugs, creating shortages to the detriment of poorer countries. Speaking at the WHO's virtual press briefing on Thursday, Dr Rowley said Caricom is collectively calling on it to immediately convene a meeting to “commiserate, explain, assist and commit to a fair sharing of the available vaccine resources for the benefit of all mankind and not just the privileged few.” Read more here

Govt, Opposition clash over Barbados-donated vaccines

The Government and Opposition are now fighting over Barbados-donated COVID-19 vaccines. The latest war of words between Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley yesterday was over Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh’s mistaken comments about the AstraZeneca vaccines, sent by India to Barbados. These were given to frontline health workers on Wednesday. At the function, Deyalsingh thanked India for the vaccines. He later apologised stating the vaccines were actually among those gifted by India to Barbados who then offered T&T 2,000 vaccines. Read more here



NGC chair: Keeping train one a good decision

The saying "it is better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it” fits well with the National Gas Company's thinking when it comes to the Atlantic LNG and Train One, for which the state company has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to upgrade and keep in an “operations ready” mode. NGC chairman Conrad Enill told Newsday on Thursday that with new projects coming online in the next two years, having the train in an prepped and ready would save them from having to rebuild another train when it is needed. Read more here

Gas production fell by 23.6%

The Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago (CBTT) in its latest economic bulletin report for January 2021, identified that natural gas production declined by 23.6 per cent over the second half of 2020, while the preliminary estimates suggest that the construction sector increased by 12.4 per cent in the... Read more here



US$2M concrete production facility for Linden

In recognising that construction material is anticipated to be in high demand as Guyana continues its economic ascension and infrastructural transformation, investor, Amar Chetram, is positioning himself to absorb the potential opportunities through the establishment of a US$2 million (approximately G$400M) concrete production facility in Linden. The company called Caribbean Concrete Guyana Limited is located at the Amelia’s Ward Industrial Site and has an estimated production capacity of 1,000 cubic yards of concrete mix per eight-hour shift. Read more here

Vaccination, construction to lead economic revival

The Government has crafted a lean Budget for the upcoming fiscal year, focusing on an ambitious vaccination programme and jobs as linchpins to spark economic recovery. Both the recurrent and capital budgets are flat year on year, but the Government plans to introduce a $60-billion programme it dubs ‘Serve Jamaica’, aimed at facilitating the vaccination of the majority of Jamaicans, financed mainly through a $33-billion dividend from the Bank of Jamaica, according to Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke in his presentation to Parliament on Thursday. Read more here



Allegations of shackled students and gang rape inside China's detention camps

On the first day of her new teaching job at a Chinese government-run detention center in Xinjiang, Qelbinur Sidik said she saw two soldiers carry a young Uyghur woman out of the building on a stretcher. "There was no spark of life in her face. Her cheeks were drained of color, she was not breathing," said Sidik, a former elementary school teacher who says she was forced to spend several months teaching at two detention centers in Xinjiang in 2017. Read more here

Princess Latifa: UN asks for proof that Dubai ruler's daughter is alive

The United Nations human rights office has asked the United Arab Emirates for proof that Princess Latifa, the daughter of Dubai's ruler, is alive. In secretly recorded videos shared with the BBC, Princess Latifa accused her father of holding her hostage in Dubai since she tried to flee in 2018. The UN has contacted David Haigh from the Free Latifa campaign requesting access to the footage. In the videos, Princess Latifa says she fears for her life. The footage, released by friends and aired by BBC Panorama earlier this week, prompted global calls for a UN investigation. Read more here

19th February 2021


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