Daily Brief - Monday 18th May, 2020

TTMA IN THE NEWS

TTMA: Early re-start shows confidence in manufacturers

The Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturing Association has been notified that Phase Two of the scheduled reopening of business has been brought forward by three days to Thursday, May 21st.The Association had written to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Health asking for a reconsideration of the proposed restart date of Sunday, May 24th.The rationale provided by the TTMA is that the sector has already proven itself to be responsible and equipped to control the spread of Covid-19 through robust safety practices and a new set of protocols that have been adopted sector wide. Fifty percent of manufacturers have been operating as essential businesses over the past eight weeks, while the nation’s Covid-19 contagion has been reduced from 116 to 1 case. Read more here

 

NEWS

Hairdresser, barber feel the pinch over covid19 restrictions

They fought to retain their dignity but their pain was all too evident in their voices when they spoke to Newsday, a hairdresser in Port of Spain and a barber in Curepe, each now seeing tough times in the covid19 lockdown. Hairdressers, nail technicians, make-up artists and barbers have not yet been allowed to open for business by Government. In fact, Government has indicated that these businesses would be among the last to open because close contact is needed to perform such services. "My concern is being able to pay my shop rent," the hairdresser told Newsday. Read more here

Proman Trinidad gives over TT$1 million in its COVID support initiatives

Over the last couple of months, petrochemicals company Proman Trinidad and Tobago has given over TT$ 1 million in relief and support to frontline healthcare workers, as well as fence-line communities and vulnerable families in its host community of Couva. The company has been making the various donations alongside its employee donor-matching initiative, to support nationwide COVID-19 relief efforts. In a news release issued by the company, Managing Director, Claus Cronberger, explains that the Proman family of companies established partnerships with the Ministry of Health, local vegetable produce farmers, supermarkets and relief agencies, to make their initiatives happen. “Our philosophy has always been to support local development, across the country and within our communities. During these unprecedented times, we must do our best to establish partnerships aimed at providing relief assistance where it is most needed,” Cronberger said, “particularly to support the efforts of the Government, our hard-working frontline healthcare workers and the vulnerable persons and groups within our communities.” Read more here

 

POLITICS

Opposition thwarts Gambling Act

The Opposition abstained from voting on the Gambling (Gaming and Betting) Control Bill on Friday. Since passage required a three-fifths majority, the bill failed to pass, garnering only 20 Government votes instead of the required 26. In lieu of overall legislation that would have strengthened the regulations for the gaming industry, the Government is now forced to amend existing, weaker legislation to add some kind of control to the sector. The bill, Finance Minister Colm Imbert said in a press briefing following the failed vote, was a carbon copy of the bill passed by the UNC in 2015. “We never expected them to reject their own bill. (Now) we have to come with some other regulation. (It) would not be as powerful but will certainly close some loophole regarding tax evasion.” Read more here

Le Hunte: Professional conflict on policy behind resignation

Public Utilities Minister Robert Le Hunte has confirmed that his resignation from Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley's led administration was a result of professional conflict on policy positions. In a letter dated May 17, sent to Guardian Media via Whatsapp by Le Hunte at 3.20 pm today, he confirmed that on May 15, his letter of resignation as Minister of Public Utilities was sent to Rowley. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Business after Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the daily activities of individuals and businesses alike. New behavioural patterns have emerged such as social distancing to limit the rate of infection. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

‘Gov’t will accept results declared by GECOM chair’

President David Granger, in iterating a long held position, said his government will accept the result of the General and Regional Elections when it is declared by the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Justice (Ret’d) Claudette Singh. “As President of Guyana and Leader of the Government, it is my policy that any declaration coming from the Chairman of GECOM will be accepted by the Government of Guyana. I speak for the Government of Guyana,” the Head of State said. Read more here

PM says ship would breach good faith sailing to Jamaica without approval

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has asserted that there would be a "serious" breach of good faith if Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines intends to sail to Jamaica without notice or approval. Adventure of the Seas, with 1,044 ship workers aboard, is due to arrive in Falmouth on Monday and has announced that disembarkation would be around Saturday. By that time, some of the workers who joined the vessel from another ship would have completed 14 days on board in quarantine. Others who had been on the Adventure of the Seas would have been in cabin confinement for a month. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Coronavirus: European countries set to further relax restrictions

Italy and Spain are among a number of European countries that are further easing their coronavirus lockdown restrictions from Monday. Most businesses in Italy, including bars and hairdressers, will be free to reopen after more than two months of nationwide lockdown measures. Spain meanwhile has slightly eased restrictions on some of its least affected islands. The measures follow consistent drops in the number of daily recorded deaths. On Sunday, Italy recorded the fewest daily deaths since it entered lockdown in March. It said 145 people had died with the virus in the previous 24 hours. This marked a significant drop from its highest daily death toll, which was more than 900 on 27 March. Read more here

Trump officials deflect blame for US death toll, escalate reopening push

Two of President Donald Trump's top officials are now pointing the finger at the administration's own scientists and Americans' pre-existing health conditions to explain the country's world-leading Covid-19 death toll. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar suggested Sunday that underlying health conditions, including among minorities, were one reason for the high American death toll -- nearly 90,000 as of Sunday evening. And Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro added the government's own Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to its list of scapegoats alongside China and the Obama administration. The White House has been escalating its effort to recast the narrative of its own chaotic response to the crisis as it aggressively pushes to reopen the country, a process vital to the fortunes of millions of people who have lost their jobs in lockdowns and its own political prospects in November. Read more here

18th May 2020

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