Daily Brief - Friday 8th May, 20202

NEWS

Tobago 3 held for sex attack on minors, one as young as 7

Three men have been arrested by police in Tobago and charged with sexually assaulting minors, one as young as seven. All three, according to a police press release, were expected to appear before a Scarborough magistrate on Thursday to answer the charges. In one case, a 16-year-old girl reported to Child Protection Unit (CPU) officers on April 29 that she had been sexually assaulted by a man between May 2019 and April of this year. Cpl Walters of the Tobago CPU investigated and a 39-year-old man later surrendered. He was charged with 17 counts of sexual penetration. Read more here

Sangre Grande mother of 3 seeks help

The spread of COVID-19 has brought to light the daily suffering of many families, who are putting shame aside and making their poverty known crying out for assistance that they have needed for a much longer time. One such family is the Gopauls of Matura, who at times have only one meal per day and often go to sleep without dinner. Jenelle Gopaul, mother of three children - Andrew, 10, Micah, 8, and baby girl Sidon, 6 - told Guardian Media that maintaining a healthy lifestyle has come to nought. With tears in her eyes, she said her husband is unable to work as he is visually blind, a diabetic and has to attend clinic for three days per weeks for dialysis treatment. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Young: Masks not a major threat to security

National Security Minister Stuart Young continues to encourage people to wear facemasks when venturing outdoors and said the masks did not present a major challenge to law enforcement as police were well within their rights to ask people to briefly remove the masks so they could be identified. Young responded to questions from reporters at the Ministry of Health’s daily press conference on whether the widespread use of masks would pose a problem to the authorities in identifying criminals on the streets or in banks and other financial institutions. He said while he understood the concern, people may be asked by security guards or police to remove their masks to be identified. Read more here

Young opens borders to 2 groups of Trinis

The latest batch of nationals who’ll be allowed to return to Trinidad and Tobago are groups in Guyana, Venezuela and Margarita – but everyone will have to make their own way home as Government won’t be sending repatriation flights. And Government’s now being flooded almost “hourly with requests from nationals all over the world seeking exemption from border closure regulations, trying to get home.” National Security Minister Stuart Young confirmed this at yesterday’s daily Ministry of Health COVID-19 update briefing. Air and sea border closures are among measures Government’s taken to protect T&T against COVID-19 spread. Virus cases were imported into T&T in March and there have been 116 cases and eight deaths - but no new cases recently. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Mapping the road to recovery

The Roadmap to Recovery team has its work cut out for them. The 23-member team, filled with some of TT’s most prominent and prolific business and industry leaders, former public servants and politicians, is tasked with creating the outline for the country’s economic rebound after the restrictions put in place to mitigate the spread of covid19 are lifted. Since mid-March, the country has been on some sort of lockdown – schools were closed, bars and restaurants were next, then cinemas, the beach – anywhere people could gather for recreation was shut down. Borders were closed. Non-essential businesses were shuttered. Now, while these restrictions are to remain in place until May 15, the Government is expected to review the policies, based on scientific data, and should very soon give an update on how the country will reopen. It’s clear though, that it won’t be business as usual. Read more here

BPTT prepares to re-open its offices

BPTT, the country’s largest natural gas producer, has said it is planning for a phased return to its Port of Spain and Galeota offices but notes that it will be based on what the government decides, in terms of its re-opening timelines. In response to several questions from Guardian Media the company said it will also have to allow time for the implementation of new health protocols including the issue of social distancing.“ BPTT has begun planning for a phased return to the workplace for both the Port of Spain and Galeota offices. The timing of office reopening will be based on guidance provided by the Government at its upcoming announcement along with allowing time for our facilities and health teams to implement office health protocols to observe social distancing and other workplace readiness measures prior to employees being allowed back into the office.” BPTT told Guardian Media. Read more here

‘IMF ready to assist region’

CARICOM countries, including T&T, should brace for an economic downturn caused by Covid-19 and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is on standby to assist. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

40 boxes counted on day 2 of National Recount

FORTY ballot boxes were counted on the second day of the National Recount bringing the total number of processed ballot boxes to 65 from a total of 2,339, Public Relations Officer of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Yolanda Ward, disclosed on Thursday. It therefore means that 2,274 more ballot boxes are yet to be counted. At the close of operations at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre where the recount is unfolding, Ward told reporters that of the 40 boxes counted – nine were from Region One (Barima-Waini); 10 from Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), nine from Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) and 12 from Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica). Read more here

St Mary COVID crackdown - Health teams go house to house tracing virus as quarantine hits Dover, Annotto Bay, Enfield

Days after The Gleaner reported a clarion call from Port Maria Mayor Richard Creary for the quarantine of St Mary communities owing to growing concerns about the spread of COVID-19 in the parish, the Government responded with the lockdown of three neighbourhoods for 14 days. A strong contingent of Jamaica Defence Force soldiers placed Annotto Bay, Enfield, and Dover under heavy restrictions, with all three communities recording a total of 13 confirmed cases of the virus. From as early as Sunday, a team of 60 health workers, including public-health inspectors and nurses, community-health aides, and health-education officers converged on Dover and carried out tests on 13 persons who were contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Where are the bodies? Missing remains mean no peace for grieving families in Ecuador

When Flavio Ramos was wheeled into the hospital room, he was gasping for air and slipping in and out of consciousness. So it was his son, Arturo, who first noticed the bodies. Two corpses laid unattended on the tile floor. By the next morning, the body count in the room rose to three. Flavio Ramos was dead. More than a month later, his family still hasn't buried Flavio Ramos. They couldn't if they tried. Because soon after his death, Arturo Ramos says hospital authorities lost the body. Read more here

Coronavirus: WHO warns 190,000 could die in Africa in one year

As many as 190,000 people across Africa could die in the first year of the coronavirus pandemic if crucial containment measures fail, the World Health Organization (WHO) warns. The new research also predicts a prolonged outbreak over a few years. "It likely will smoulder in transmission hot spots," says WHO Africa head Matshidiso Moeti. This patchier and slower pattern of transmission sets Africa apart from other regions, WHO experts say. Other factors taken into account are the region's younger populations who have "benefitted from the control of communicable diseases such as HIV and tuberculosis", as well as lower mortality rates. Read more here

8th May 2020

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