Daily Brief - Monady 11th May, 2020

TTMA IN THE NEWS

Chamber, TTMA disappointed

T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce remains concerned about the negative impact that the partial closure of the economy is having on businesses in T&T. The chamber made a statement Saturday after Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announced that the economy will be reopened on a phased basis. The Prime Minister announced that after a month of being closed, restaurants and other food businesses will be allowed to be reopen from Monday. From tomorrow, three major manufacturing companies will also be allowed to restart operations–Trinidad Cement Ltd (TCL), cigarette manufacturer WITCO, and steel producer Nu Iron. All other manufacturers will be allowed to reopen in the second phase from May 24. Read more here

 

NEWS

Late payments crippling homes for the elderly

Managers of private homes for the elderly are crying shame on the government saying the State’s extreme tardiness in paying money to these homes is affecting the quality of care which they provide. While some managers said they have been paid arrears for their services, others complain that they have not been paid for months. All have lamented the snail’s pace of the release of funds which the government promised to give them every month. Brent Ramroop, a nurse for 15 years and the manager of Brent’s Manor, has been taking care of displaced elderly people for the past three years. Read more here

All food vendors are responsible for the well-being of their customers—TTPS

The Commissioner of Police, Gary Griffith, is reminding all food vendors that they are responsible for the well-being of their customers, while they wait to collect their take-away deliveries. In a news release issued today, Commissioner Griffith underscores that all food vendors—whether they are in constructed establishments or are engaged in roadside vending—must ensure their customers adhere to the mandatory distance of at least six feet from fellow customers. The top cop states that It is the responsibility of the relevant food vendor to ensure this is achieved. Vendors are being advised to place markers (or even use chalk marks) every six feet, to give their customers a guide as to how close they can be from the customer ahead of them, thus ensuring compliance with the social distancing regulations. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Kamla returns jab at Rowley: 'Nothing but a shameless Judas'

Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar says the Prime Minister's meeting last month with a team of Venezuelan officials, including vice-president Delcy Rodriguez, can cause serious damage to the country’s economic stability and "reputation as an exemplary democracy." In a statement on Saturday, Persad-Bissessar said Dr Rowley, at a press conference on Friday, “finally admitted to holding an alleged illegitimate meeting with Venezuelan Vice President, Delcy Rodriguez, and a team of officials from Venezuelan-owned energy company PDVSA, on March 27." She called on him to "immediately cease and desist from these damaging actions and publicly declare that he will fully cooperate with the US investigation." Read more here

Govts worldwide drawdown on their sovereign wealth funds

How are countries around the world utilising their sovereign wealth funds during this time of crisis caused by COVID-19? This is the question that the International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds (IFSWF) is trying to get an answer to as they have started to canvass their members in an attempt to produce research and insights into how long-term asset owners are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.  “The Covid-19 pandemic has caused acute stress and volatility in financial markets not experienced since the global financial crisis. As long-term investors and significant sources of patient capital, IFSWF members have an important role to play in helping to stabilise both national economies and the global financial system,” the IFSWF has stated. “IFSWF will seek to shed light on how sovereign wealth funds are collectively approaching the current situation. It will also demonstrate how they are collaborating to share best practices and insights at this challenging time,” it stated. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Rising risk for C’bean economies

In its April 2020 World Economic Outlook report, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) significantly downgraded its forecasts for economic growth globally. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

‘The skullduggery coming out’

THE APNU+AFC Coalition, on Sunday, said, as the fifth day of the recount process has been completed, clear and unmistakable patterns of irregularities, discrepancies and worse have emerged. The recount process has uncovered, among other things: countless instances of dead persons being recorded as voting, exclusively, in PPP/C’s strongholds; countless instances of persons who have long migrated from Guyana and who were not in Guyana on Election Day being recorded as voting; countless instances of persons who did not uplift their ID cards from GECOM for many years being recorded as voting in PPP/C’s stronghold areas but with no corresponding Oaths of Identity being found in the ballot boxes; countless instances of unsigned Oaths of Identity in PPP/C’s stronghold areas; numerous instances of votes for other parties being recorded for the PPP/C; numerous instances of missing poll books and numerous instances of ballots clearly cast for the APNU+AFC Coalition deemed as spoilt. Read more here

Child abuse alarm - Reports plunge, potentially giving predators free rein

Preliminary reports of child abuse to the National Children’s Registry in March fell by approximately 28 per cent compared to the previous month, signalling to welfare authorities that hundreds of children might be at greater risk of exploitation and neglect amid the coronavirus pandemic. In March, 842 reports were received, compared to 1,163 in February. And Gleaner analysis also shows that reports of child abuse in March 2020,declined by 30 per cent compared to March 2019.

The data may trigger heightened response mechanisms by child-welfare officials amid warnings by United Nations human-rights experts that children would become more vulnerable to abuse and violence during coronavirus lockdowns and other containment measures. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Coronavirus: Wuhan in first virus cluster since end of lockdown

New coronavirus clusters have been reported in Wuhan city - where the virus first emerged - and the north-eastern province of Jilin in China. Wuhan reported five new cases on Monday, after confirming its first case since 3 April on Sunday. Authorities said the small cluster of cases were all from the same residential compound. China has been easing restrictions in recent weeks and cases had been declining. Health authorities and experts have warned that as countries emerge from strict lockdowns and people move around more freely, a rise in infections is likely. The small Wuhan cluster is the first to emerge since the end of the strict lockdown on 8 April. One of the five cases reported on Monday was the wife of an 89-year-old man who became the first confirmed case in the city in well over a month on Sunday. Read more here

Renewed outbreaks in South Korea, Germany and China show continued risk as more countries seek to reopen

"It's not over until it's over."  That was South Korean President Moon Jae-in, speaking Sunday after a new cluster of coronavirus cases emerged in the country's capital Seoul, sparking fear of a second wave of infections in the East Asian country. South Korea was among the first places to deal with a major coronavirus epidemic, and seemed to be on track to loosen restrictions, after weeks of social distancing measures and careful surveillance. But the new cluster seems to have put an end to that, for now, with Moon warning his people "we must never lower our guard regarding epidemic prevention." China too, is introducing renewed restrictions after two cities reported new cases of the virus. Shulan, in Jilin province in the country's far northeast, has been put under lockdown, following 11 newly confirmed cases. Jilin borders both Russia and North Korea, and concerns have previously been raised over imported cases from overseas causing a renewed outbreak. Read more here

11th May 2020

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