Daily Brief - Friday 29th July, 2022

NEWS

UN donates US$721,400 to Central Statistical Office

The UN has given a US$721,400 grant to the Central Statistical Office (CSO) to help compile local data relevant to the UN's 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs), with this initiative formally launched on Tuesday at a function at the Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain. The SDGs include gender equity, human rights and poverty eradication. Over the next 24 months, five UN agencies – PAHO/WHO, ILO, UNEP, ECLAC and the Resident Co-ordinator's Office – will work with government, business, academia and NGOs to improve TT's national statistical system to provide data for analysis, reporting, and the mainstreaming of human rights and gender into national policy. Read more here

Mother appeals for help to send son with cerebral palsy to school

Sitting on a bench in Oropune Gardens, Piarco, with her eight-year-old son playing in her lap, Carla Charles could not hold back the tears ON Thursday. “I just want my child to go to school.” It seems a simple enough wish. After all, education is a basic right for every child. But given that her son Jemarc Dial struggles with cerebral palsy, it has drastically limited her options. “There is no school for children with cerebral palsy aside from Princess Elizabeth and Lady Hochoy and both of them said there isn’t any room available, so I have to stay home to see about him.” Charles said there are private institutions but the monthly fee ranges from $2,500 to $3,500 a month. Far beyond the means for the 27-year-old mother, who cannot find employment due to her son’s condition. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Government moves to cut costs by 25% – WASA TO AXE 213 MANAGERS

Some 213 managers at WASA face losing their jobs, as a first step in "transforming" the State-run utility and cutting its operating costs by 25 per cent. This is being done to make WASA an agency that will "meet the needs of the population but not be a burden on the Treasury," Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales said at a briefing at his Port of Spain office on Thursday. Also present was WASA chairman Ravindra Nanga. Gonzales said WASA's 426-strong management team will be cut by 50 per cent adding that WASA's entire top management was replaced in July 2021. Gonzales said Cabinet has just approved a transformation plan for WASA, to attract the "best and brightest talent" for new management posts to be publicly advertised. Read more here

Lutchmedial: Privy Council ruling vindicates Opposition non-support of Bail Bill

The UNC’s position on bail was correct, according to Senator Jayanti Lutchmedial, who said yesterday’s Privy Council ruling against the state vindicated the party’s recent non-support of the Bail (Amendment) Bill 2022. Lutchmedial spoke following the Privy Council’s dismissal of the State’s appeal on the Akili Charles matter. Lutchmedial said the judgement confirmed the local Court of Appeal’s February ruling on Charles’ matter, that the automatic denial of bail isn’t reasonably justifiable in a society that has a proper respect for the rights and freedom of the individual. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Economists: All is not well with T&T’s economy

While Standard and Poor’s may have improved T&T’s rating to stable from negative, leading economists are warning this does not mean all is well with the economy. Former Finance Minister Selby Wilson says the report speaks volumes about the country’s inability to diversify the economy from oil and gas. “We must not pat ourselves for this improved performance which is driven by changes in international environment and not by actions taken by the Government in managing the economy. The report makes it quite clear that oil prices compensates more than adequately despite the productions declines in oil and gas. This, in my view, is a red flag that policymakers must take serious note of and double the efforts to have both sides of the revenue equation working in a positive direction,” Wilson told the Business Guardian. Read more here

No evidence high prices caused by business practice

Executive director of the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) Bevan Narinesingh said despite the increase in food prices in T&T, the FTC has not yet observed any anti-competitive behaviour in the local market. He said the FTC’s job is to get to the root causes of the high prices in T&T. In their review, they will determine whether it relates directly to shipping, whether it is caused by disruptions in the global supply chain, whether it is as a result of the conflict between Russia/Ukraine or as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

China’s government intolerant of corruption – Ambassador Guo reaffirms

Noting that her government is committed to its anti-corruption policies, People’s Republic of China’s Ambassador to Guyana, Guo Haiyan reaffirmed the Asian nation’s commitment to the rule of law when conducting any bilateral business activities. The ambassador was, at the time, speaking at the commemoration ceremony of 50 years of friendship between Guyana China hosted by the Guyana Peace Council and the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre on Thursday. The ambassador’s comments come following allegations made in multiple reports by a US-based media house which sought to cast aspersions on the business operations of Chinese nationals in Guyana. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Hopes for first grain ship to leave Ukraine after Russia deal

The first grain ship from Ukraine since Russia's invasion could leave port as early as Friday, but "crucial details" are still being ironed out, says UN aid chief Martin Griffiths. A UN-led deal was signed a week ago to resume exports after a blockage which led to food price rises. With hopes of an imminent departure, President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in Odesa saying Ukraine was ready. A source told Russian media it could happen, barring unforeseen events. The focus on Friday was on the port of Chornomorsk, where a ship loaded with grain was being readied to leave. However, the UN aid chief said that could only happen safely when the route through the Black Sea was finalised. Read more here

29th July 2022

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