Daily Brief - Friday 28th May, 2021


Government, business to tackle vaccine hesitancy

Energy Minister Stuart Young said on Wednesday Government is seeking the private sector's help in fighting covid19 vaccine hesitancy. He made this statement at a virtual news conference, after a virtual meeting between the Government and representatives of the private sector. After noting that vaccination was one of the topics raised during the meeting, Young said, "We continue to give the commitment that the Government is doing everything it legally possibly and ethically can, to get a supply and get a consistent supply of vaccinations." Read more here


World tourism body: Covid19 took US$33.9b out of region

A release from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) on Thursday said its annual economic impact report (EIR) showed the covid19 pandemic wiped out US$33.9 billion from the Caribbean region's economy. It added that 680,000 jobs regionally were lost, with many more still hanging in the balance. The release said, “Travel and tourism’s impact on the region’s gross domestic product (GDP) fell from US$58.4 billion (14.1 per cent) in 2019, to US$24.5 billion (6.4 per cent), just 12 months later, in 2020.” Read more here

Oxford Business Group says

While the energy sector—which is critical to T&T’s economy —experienced a sharp fall in revenue in 2020, a promising pipeline of upcoming projects will see its contribution to economic activity recover in 2021 and 2022, says the Oxford Business Group in its report titled, What is the post-pandemic outlook for T&T? The report, written by regional editor Harry van Schaick and compiled in collaboration with invesTT, was released on May 20. It noted that global oil prices plummeted to around US$18 per barrel in April 2020, which significantly impacted commodity-producing economies such as T&T. Read more here



Fuad Khan criticises Couva doctors' transfer

Former health minister Dr Fuad Khan on Thursday criticised the transfer of doctors from the Couva Hospital and Multi-Training Facility during the recent increase in covid19 cases. In a statement, Khan said it was disturbing to learn that they had been replaced "with individuals who may not have the experience or the expertise necessary to deal with this crisis." He was unsatisfied by the response given by North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA) CEO Davlin Thomas that "the removal of these doctors from the parallel health system is a 'rotation cycle.'" Read more here

Ministry allocates 4,000 vaccines for educators

One week after Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly assured that teachers will be among the priority groups to receive COVID-19 vaccines during this phase, approximately 700 educators have been short-listed to be immunised. The group was scheduled to begin receiving injections at the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) Campus, Munroe Road, Chaguanas, yesterday. Unable to say just how many people would have received the vaccine, T&T Unified Teachers’ Association (TTUTA) president Antonia Tekah-De Freitas said, “The Ministry of Education has been allocated 4,000 vaccines for those educators who would be involved in exams.” Read more here



ANSA McAL invests in renewable energy project in the DR

Regional conglomerate ANSA McAL has made its first investment into the Dominican Republic with the purchase of the Monte Plata Solar farms, the group’s CEO Anthony N Sabga III has revealed. Sabga made the statement as ANSA McAL held its virtual Annual General Meeting yesterday. “In line with our global energy investment mindset, we have completed the acquisition of Monte Plata Solar farms in the Dominican Republic. This actually is an expansion, as I mentioned, of our renewable energy focus but also our first investment into the Dominican Republic,” Sabga said. Read more here

Cost of cement triples

A bag of cement which usually costs approximately $50 has more than tripled in price at some places since Covid-19 invaded the country in March 2020. Some people are paying as much as $150 and more for a bag of cement. People have turned to social media to share their bills and frustration over exorbitant prices carried by some hardware stores in North, Central and South Trinidad. As the world continues its fight against Covid-19, some countries have stepped up to prevent this very same thing. Read more here



$6B for water treatment plants along the coast

The Government, through the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI), has secured some $6 billion from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) for the construction of five new water treatment plants in Regions Two, Three, Five and Six. The plants will be constructed in Walton Hall/Charity, Region Two; Leguan and Wakenaam, Region Three; West Coast Berbice, Region Five; and Tain/ Number 50 Village, Region Six. GWI’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Shaik Baksh, made the announcement during a press briefing on Thursday. He said contracts have been inked for the design of the treatment plants. Read more here

PNP split but Campbell survives

Dr Dayton Campbell may have survived as general secretary amid a developing scandal but the decision to retain him in the People’s National Party’s (PNP) senior ranks has sparked a smouldering conflict that could further torch a deeply divided political organisation. The PNP said in a statement on Thursday that it was standing behind Campbell amid the allegations of sexual misconduct, proferred by party activist Karen Cross and two bloggers, which he has vigorously denied. Read more here



China counters Biden's Covid origins lab probe ... by calling for a US lab probe

US President Joe Biden's call for a renewed investigation into the origins of the coronavirus feels like déjà vu in Beijing. Just over a year ago, when Covid-19 infections were rising in the US, former President Donald Trump started to promote a then-fringe theory that the virus had escaped from a lab in Wuhan, the Chinese city where it was first detected. Beijing reacted angrily to the claim, accusing Trump of trying to scapegoat China for his own failure to contain the outbreak domestically. Read more here

Germany officially recognises colonial-era Namibia genocide

Germany has officially acknowledged that it committed genocide during its colonial-era occupation of Namibia and announced a financial support gesture. German colonisers killed tens of thousands of Herero and Nama people there in early 20th Century massacres. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Friday acknowledged the killings as genocide. "In light of Germany's historical and moral responsibility, we will ask Namibia and the descendants of the victims for forgiveness," he said. Mr Maas added that Germany would, in a "gesture to recognise the immense suffering inflicted on the victims", support the country's development through a programme worth more than €1.1bn (£940m; $1.34bn). Read more here

28th May 2021


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