Daily Brief - Friday 29th January, 2021

NEWS

Transparency: Corruption score the same but could have been worse

Trinidad and Tobago’s corruption index score remains unchanged at 40, the TT Transparency Institute said on Thursday at the launch of the Corruption Index Report. But TTTI chairman Dion Abdool pointed out that, had the situation with the recent procurement legislation been taken into account, the country's score would have been much lower. The procurement law, passed in December last year, met with significant push-back from economists and even the Office of the Procurement Regulator. Read more here

Daly disagrees THA Executive Council continues in office

Senior Counsel Martin Daly yesterday disagreed with the Prime Minister’s assessment that the existing Tobago House of Assembly (THA) executive remains in place while moves were made to resolve the six-six deadlock. Daly is the latest legal luminary to add his voice to the ongoing impasse for the THA. Yesterday, President Paula-Mae Weekes swore in 12 assemblymen, six from the People’s National Movement (PNM) and another six from the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP). Read more here

 

POLITICS

Rowley: TT talking to Venezuela over Guyana border row

The Prime Minister said while he was taking medication after his recent angioplasty procedure, he was working hard in his role as chairman of Caricom now subsumed in a Venezuela/Guyana border row. With Venezuela president Nicolas Maduro re-stating a long-standing claim to two-thirds of Guyana including oil-rich areas, Dr Rowley said the Government has been very busy on this matter, being in constant communication with the Venezuelan government. Read more here

PNM: THA resolution can take up to six months

The People’s National Movement (PNM) says it may take six months to resolve the current constitutional crisis in Tobago. The crisis was created as the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Act does not address how to break a deadlock if a presiding officer is not elected. The PNM and Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP), which won six seats each in the January 25 THA elections, met in the THA Chamber yesterday and each party had its own nominee for presiding officer. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

T&T a corrupt society

Trinidad and Tobago is a corrupt society where people believe they can bribe public officials to get whatever they want. The Covid-19 pandemic has also exposed the levels of corruption in the society. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Canada, UK join calls for release of Guyanese fishermen

Canada and the United Kingdom (UK), on Thursday, joined other nations in calling on Venezuela to release the 12 Guyanese fishermen they are holding in detention. Even as Guyana and international stakeholders continue to press for a peaceful conclusion to the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy, Venezuela remains seemingly bent on arbitrarily laying claim to Guyana’s territory, with that country’s naval forces increasingly intruding on Guyana’s maritime space. Read more here

Vaccine sales top agenda - Business group mulls putting jab on open market

Jamaicans who are not on the priority list for the COVID-19 vaccine being procured by the Government might have the option of buying the much-sought-after jab on the private market. A business coalition banking on procuring the vaccine to complement a similar initiative by the Government disclosed on Thursday that the proposed sale of vaccines was firmly on the table. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Novavax says Covid-19 vaccine is 89% effective in UK trial, but less so in South Africa

A new Covid-19 vaccine from Novavax was found to be 89% effective in a clinical trial conducted in the UK and appears to offer protection against some variants of the coronavirus, the American biotech firm has announced. Novavax said Thursday that its vaccine was found to have been 95.6% effective against the original novel coronavirus, and 85.6% effective against the variant first identified in the UK, known as B.1.1.7, based on results from a Phase 3 trial conducted in the UK. The study included efficacy estimates by strain based on PCR tests performed on variants from 56 Covid-19 cases in the trial. Read more here

Covid: EU publishes disputed AstraZeneca Covid jab contract

The European Commission has published its contract with drug-maker AstraZeneca for its Covid vaccine, amid a row over supplies. The move came hours after Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen increased pressure on the company over its decision to reduce supplies to the EU. The contract signed in August contained "binding orders", she told German radio, and called for an explanation. The vaccine is expected to be approved by the EU medicines regulator later. UK-Swedish AstraZeneca is blaming production delays at two plants. Read more here

 

29th January 2021

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