Daily Brief - Monday 11th October, 2021

NEWS

11 more covid19 deaths, 248 new cases

There Have been 11 more covid19 deaths in Trinidad and Tobago. In its covid19 update on Sunday, the Health Ministry reported the total number of covid19 deaths now stands at 1,551. On Saturday, this figure was 15,40. The ministry said there have been 248 covid cases reported between October 6 to 9 and the total number of covid19 cases from March 2020 to now is 52,728. Read more here

Safe Zones open today after intense preparations

The Government’s TT Safe Zone initiative launches today with vaccinated employees of bars, restaurants, gyms, theatres, cinemas, waterparks, as well as licensed gaming houses, betting pools and private members’ clubs being able to open and serve vaccinated citizens. Yesterday, employees worked long hours in preparation for the highly anticipated opening. For restaurants, today will be the first time since April 29 that in-house dining will be permitted. When Guardian Media visited Woodford Cafe at PricePlaza, in Chaguanas yesterday we met an electrician checking the bulbs on the restaurant’s exterior, while other employees cleaned its interior. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Lee: Key ministers failed to speak in budget debate

MP for Pointe-a-Pierre and Opposition Chief Whip David Lee said Minister of Finance Colm Imbert prevented the Prime Minister as well as other key ministers the opportunity to speak when it closed the budget debate on Saturday afternoon. Lee was speaking at the UNC media conference at the Office of the Leader of the Opposition on Sunday. Imbert presented the budget in the House of October 4. Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar began the debate on October 8.It ended on Saturday around 6 pm after PNM MP for D’Abadie/O’Meara Lisa Morris-Julian ended her contribution. And no UNC MP rose to speak. Read more here

Govt, Opposition blame each other for early end to budget debate

Hours after the budget debate collapsed, politicians from both sides of the political divide continued to blame each other while the citizenry used social media to voice concerns about a lack of accountability. Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar accused Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley of “hiding from Parliament” saying he chose not to contribute to the Budget debate. “It is evident that this dictator cannot defend his punishing property tax, his fuel liberalisation plans, and other punitive measures which his government is seeking to implement in this 2022 budget,” Persad-Bissessar charged. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

PROVIDE JOBS: Mayaro MP @Caption:Rushton Paray

Trinidad and Tobago has experienced a growth in non-energy exports for the first eight months of 2021, says Minister of Trade and Industry, Paula Gopee-Scoon. Contributing to the 2022 budget debate in Parliament on Friday, Gopee-Scoon said T&T has seen a rebound in total exports, which is also evident in the growth of its non-energy sector exports. “During the period, January to August 2021, total non-energy exports averaged approximately $1.3 billion per month an estimated 43 per cent higher compared to 2020 (i.e. $873.1 million per month). Furthermore, this average has even surpassed that of the same period in 2019, which was approximately $1.1 billion per month (14 per cent increase), which would have been considered a ‘normal’ trading period, the pre-Covid level,” said Gopee-Scoon. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

More than $2B already spent on COVID-19 vaccination efforts

As the novel coronavirus continues its global rampage claiming millions of lives, the Government of Guyana has insisted that it will continue to invest whatever is necessary to safeguard the lives of all Guyanese. Already, during the first half of the year, more than $2 billion has been spent on expanding the National Vaccination Programme and ensuring that enough COVID-19 vaccines are procured to inoculate every eligible person. So far, over 40 per cent of the entire population has been fully vaccinated against the deadly virus. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Drugs, arms, and terror: A high-profile defector on Kim's North Korea

The old habits of secrecy haven't left Kim Kuk-song. It has taken weeks of discussions to get an interview with him, and he's still worried about who might be listening. He wears dark glasses for the camera, and only two of our team know what we think is his real name. Mr Kim spent 30 years working his way to the top ranks of North Korea's powerful spy agencies. The agencies were the "eyes, ears, and brains of the Supreme Leader", he says. He claims he kept their secrets, sent assassins to kill their critics, and even built an illegal drugs-lab to help raise "revolutionary" funds. Now, the former senior colonel has decided to tell his story to the BBC. It's the first time such a senior military officer from Pyongyang has given an interview to a major broadcaster. Read more here

Australia's biggest city is starting to live with Covid. Asia will be watching

Melanie McTighe and her 92-year-old father live in the same city, but they haven't been able to see each other for almost four months. That changed on Monday as Sydney, Australia's largest city and the capital of New South Wales, emerges from a strict lockdown imposed in June to contain a Delta outbreak. McTighe said she's "excited" to start her life again and see her loved ones, but she's worried about what having Covid-19 in the community might mean for the city of 5.3 million people. Read more here

11th October 2021

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