Daily Brief - Monday 2nd December, 2019

NEWS

Meteorologist warns of possible drought

The dry season officially began yesterday and the forecast doesn’t look too good. That was the prediction of meteorologist Arlene Aaron-Morrison of the Meteorological Service, at the Office of Disaster Preparedness Management (ODPM) alternate National Emergency Operations Centre in Mausica on Thursday. Aaron-Morrison said, “There is the possibility that at the end of May 2020, we have to look out for a drought. (There is a) possibility of less dry spells in the earlier part of the season. Temperatures would be warmer than usual.” The dry season ends on June 30. Read more here

Don’t break election rules

As elec­tors head to the var­i­ous polling sta­tions to­day to cast their votes, the Elec­tions and Bound­aries Com­mis­sion (EBC) is warn­ing po­lit­i­cal par­ties, can­di­dates, elec­tors, and all oth­er de­mo­c­ra­t­ic stake­hold­ers to obey the law or face the con­se­quences. Is­su­ing the warn­ing on its web­site on Sun­day, the EBC al­so itemised the elec­tion of­fences one could run afoul of to­day dur­ing the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Elec­tion. “Ig­no­rance of the law is not an ex­cuse,” ad­vised the EBC. Can­vass­ing, loud mu­sic, no con­gre­ga­tion and sale of al­co­hol are among the of­fences for which per­sons could be ar­rest­ed for to­day and once found guilty could face a fine or im­pris­on­ment. Some 1,079,969 peo­ple are el­i­gi­ble to vote at the 2,107 polling sta­tions with­in the 1,530 polling di­vi­sions through­out the coun­try. Read more here

 

POLITICS

New minimum wage in effect

The new minimum wage of $17.50 per hour took effect from Sunday, said a press advertisement by the Ministry of Finance, titled “New fiscal measures take effect from December 1, 2019.” The move enacts a promise by Finance Minister Colm Imbert in his 2020 budget presentation to raise the payment from $15. “This measure will benefit approximately 194,000 persons in the workforce and will take effect from December 1, 2019,” he had told the House of Representatives. Imbert did not state any allocation for the increase, much of which will be paid by the private sector whose spokesmen, in turn, said it must be accompanied by greater productivity from workers. Read more here

PNM in PoS, UNC in Central tonight

To­day’s elec­tion is op­er­at­ing with re­cent bound­ary changes, ad­di­tion of two new seats and name changes in 12 seats, with­in four UNC-held cor­po­ra­tion ar­eas and three PNM cor­po­ra­tions. Changes af­fect ar­eas in­clud­ing mar­gin­als Siparia and San­gre Grande, plus San Juan/Barataria, Cou­va, Pe­nal-Debe, San Fer­nan­do and Ch­agua­nas. In the No­vem­ber 28, 2016 LG poll, there were 317 can­di­dates en­com­pass­ing eight par­ties and four In­de­pen­dents con­test­ing the 137 seats. Then, the PNM won 83 seats with 174,754 votes in sev­en cor­po­ra­tions. UNC won 54 seats with 180,758 votes - the pop­u­lar vote. Both tied in San­gre Grande where PNM even­tu­al­ly took con­trol. Oth­er con­tes­tants failed to se­cure any­thing. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

ELECTION DAY - Voting underway

Are you voting today for party? Your candidate of choice? Or no one at all? Approximately 1,079,969 electors are eligible to go to the polls to elect 139 councillors to serve in the 14 municipal corporations in Trinidad. Voting in the 2019 local government election takes place at 2,107 polling stations. Polls opened at 6 a.m. and will close at 6 p.m. In total, there are 339 candidates, 25 more than there were in the 2016 local government election. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Five A Day - Murders Climb With November Tying As Second Bloodiest Month

Despite the Government’s defence of its states of emergency (SOEs) as a success and vowing to expand its security crackdowns, five Jamaicans are murdered every day, with 36 homicides being recorded over the last week according to data from the police force. Murders leapt to 1,223 as at November 30, a 1.8 per cent increase over the corresponding period for 2018. But while the police and military have fanned out across western and central Jamaica, urban hotspots in Kingston, St Andrew, and St Catherine are experiencing a significant rise in serious and violent crimes. A review of the crime stats shows that there has been a surge in murders, shootings, and rapes in six, or 75 per cent of metro police divisions. There has also been an uptick in robberies in five of the eight divisions. Read more here

ECLAC: The Region has underestimated inequality

“FOR nearly a decade, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) has positioned equality as the basis of development. Today, we confirm once again the urgency of moving ahead on the construction of Welfare States, based on rights and on equality, which provide male and female citizens alike access to comprehensive and universal social protection systems and to essential public goods, such as quality health and education, housing and transportation. The call is being made to forge social compacts for equality,” Alicia Bárcena, the regional organisation’s Executive Secretary said last week at the launch of the Social Panorama of Latin America 2019 report. A decrease in income inequality is key to resuming the path of poverty reduction and achieving the targets established in the 2030 Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goal 1. “It is necessary to grow to equalise, and equalise to grow. Overcoming poverty in the region not only requires economic growth; it must be accompanied by redistributive policies and active fiscal policies,” ECLAC states in the study presented at a press conference today in Santiago, Chile. Read more here 

 

INTERNATIONAL

Climate change: COP25 talks open as 'point of no return' in sight

Political leaders and climate diplomats are meeting in Madrid for two weeks of talks amid a growing sense of crisis. According to UN Secretary General António Guterres, "the point of no return is no longer over the horizon". Meanwhile, Save the Children says that climate shocks have left millions in Africa facing hunger. The charity says 33 million people are at emergency levels of food insecurity due to cyclones and droughts. The world's average surface temperature is rising rapidly because human activities release greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2). These gases trap heat in the atmosphere, much like the glass roof of a greenhouse. This conference of the parties, or COP25, was due to be held in Chile but was cancelled by the government due to weeks of civil disturbances. The meeting will aim to step up ambition so that all countries increase their national commitments to cut emissions. The meeting follows on the heels of three UN reports which stressed the increased urgency of limiting dangerous climate change. Read more here

Democrats escalate impeachment bid in end-of-year dash

Democrats pivot from investigating President Donald Trump to beginning their prosecution of him this week in the most significant and historic development yet in a fast-moving impeachment battle. The rising stakes come as Republicans on Sunday launched a new offensive to destroy the legitimacy of the Democratic process by claiming that Trump's enemies are rushing the somber business of making him the third impeached President in order to dodge a voter backlash. The attack could not, however, disguise a public debate in the GOP over how much Trump should engage in the next stage of impeachment, or whether he should await a likely trial in the Senate where a Republican majority could offer him more protection. The White House said Sunday that neither Trump nor his lawyers would take part in the first House Judiciary Committee hearing on impeachment on Wednesday. Read more here

2nd December 2019

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