Daily Brief - Monday 22nd March, 2021

NEWS

128 Central cops in quarantine; division still covered says police association

Police Social and Welfare Association (PSWA) president Gideon Dickson assured that police officers will continue to maintain law and order in the Central Division despite the challenge of having more than 100 police officers quarantined for a covid19 contact-tracing exercise. Dickson told Newsday, three officers tested positive for covid19 and as a result 128 police officers, mostly from the Central Division, had been told to quarantine. “From my understanding one of the officers went to operation meetings and so on, so that saw the spiralling in numbers,” Dixon said. Read more here

Statement from High Commission of India on vaccine issue

The High Commission of India in T&T has taken note of the controversy around India’s possible vaccine donation to T&T and the role of the High Commissioner in it. The High Commission would like to make the following clarification: 1. In his Independence Day speech on August 15, 2020, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that India was ready to mass-produce COVID-19 vaccines when scientists give the go-ahead. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Deputy PS on planning: Trinidad and Tobago not the wild west

Acting Planning Ministry Deputy Permanent Secretary Marie Hinds on Friday disagreed that there are insufficient measures to deal with indiscriminate land development in Trinidad and Tobago. Hinds expressed this view while responding to questions from members of the Finance and Legal Affairs Joint Select Committee (JSC) during a virtual meeting on Friday. Port of Spain South MP Keith Scotland argued there seemed to be an absence of measures to curb indiscriminate land development, since the Planning and Facilitation Development Act 2014 was never proclaimed. Read more here

Fraud Squad probes $.5m pension payment to Duke

A half a million-dollar pension payment given to Public Service Association (PSA) President Watson Duke in 2019—who had promised to resign but did not—remains an active police investigation by the Fraud Squad. And while police continue their investigation, PSA members are growing impatient for the answers as Duke continues to evade questions about the payment that he collected between September 2019 and November 2019. The alleged financial irregularities at the PSA under Duke as revealed in the CNC3 Unspun programme on Sunday evening have once again surfaced after his wife’s company Blackstone Engineering Tech was recently identified as benefiting from multi-million-dollar contracts from the state entity WASA. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Importance of the MSME sector

Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) play a critical role in developing economies, in particular where they provide employment to persons of all skill levels, thus promoting social inclusion for a fairly large segment of the population. According to the World Bank, in emerging markets alone... Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Border patrol ‘beefed up’

Amid concerns over the continued illegal crossings from Brazil, where there is a high prevalence of COVID-19 cases, patrols and checkpoints at the Guyana/Brazil border at Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) and Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) will be increased in a bid to reduce the importation of COVID-19 cases. Last Wednesday, members of the National COVID-19 Task Force (NCTF) engaged the regional authorities and residents in Regions Eight and Nine; this was done as part of efforts geared at intensifying monitoring of the porous and expansive Guyana/Brazil border. While there, the enforcement of the National COVID-19 guidelines and other issues, such as trafficking in persons, were discussed. Read more here

Gov’t imposes new restrictions amid ‘existential’ COVID-19 threat

Face-to-face classes have been shut down for all students and lockdowns imposed for three weekends from March 26 until April 12 as the Holness administration seeks to rein in a runaway wave of COVID-19 infections. The country has recorded 533 deaths and more than 35,300 cases – with 18,426 infections classified as active. Nine new deaths were tallied on Saturday. Addressing a Jamaica House press briefing on Sunday, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said that the lockdowns would begin from midday on Saturdays to Mondays at 5 a.m. Read more here

 

 

INTERNATIONAL

'He cut my underwear. Then he did what he did'

Sergei stood on a small sheet of ice in the Dnieper River and breathed in the icy air hard. He had escaped, but that relief was overwhelmed by both the pain of leaving his homeland and the fear he might not survive the rest of his perilous journey. He was wanted, again, by Belarusian police. He had already been detained last summer and was beaten in custody, all for protesting against the election victory declared by President Alexander Lukashenko. Fellow protesters he'd spent time in detention with had just been arrested, and it was clear the police would soon come for him again. Reluctantly, he knew he had to flee. Read more here

Australia floods: Thousands evacuated as downpours worsen

Some 18,000 people have been evacuated from severe floods across New South Wales (NSW) in Australia, with more heavy rainfall predicted. The state's entire coast is now under a severe weather warning. Days of torrential downpours have caused rivers and dams to overflow around Sydney - the state capital - and in south-east Queensland. The military is being deployed to help with search and rescue, in what has been called a "one-in-50-years event". Read more here

22nd March 2021

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