Daily Brief - Saturday 16th May, 2020


Bake and shark sales bringing life back to Maracas Beach

As Government has started allowing some sectors, particularly restaurants, to reopen after being closed to curb the spread of covid19, some degree of normalcy is being seen in some areas. One such place is Maracas Beach where bake and shark vendors are starting to serve the public once again. Although most of them remained closed when Newsday visited on Friday, one vendor – Giselle Ferguson – said things started off slowly earlier in the week when restrictions were lifted, but more people were coming out in the last few days. Restaurants and food businesses are only allowed to offer a take-away service. Read more here

Health CEO: Halting private COVID tests could bring tidal wave

Clamping down on COVID-19 testing by private labs could trigger a “tidal wave” in cases, according to Medcorp Limited chairman Dr Kongshiek Achong Low. The specialist obstetrician and gynaecologist yesterday criticised Health Minister’s Terrence Deyalsingh’s statement that his ministry was planning to involve the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to review whether private laboratories were breaching the law by offering COVId-19 testing. “We have done nothing illegal,” he told Guardian Media in a telephone interview yesterday. Achong Low said this was the responsible approach to ensure the safety of patients, staff and by extension the population. Read more here



PM: US no example for TT covid19 response

The Prime Minister said the US is no example for TT when it comes to national covid19 responses. He was responding to a prime minister's question in the House on Friday. Caroni East MP Dr Tim Gopeesingh asked if Government was doing enough testing for decision-making, based on international standards and comparative analysis. Dr Rowley replied that he did not know what international standards Gopeesingh was referring to. Read more here

Brian Manning closer to contesting father’s old seat

Brian Manning, the son of the late prime minister Patrick Manning, has moved one step closer to being the ruling People’s National Movement (PNM) standard-bearer in the upcoming general election for the constituency his father held for 44 consecutive years. The younger Manning emerged as the choice of the executive of the San Fernando East constituency on Friday and will face the screening committee led by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley on Saturday. Manning was able to secure 14 of the 24 votes while the other 10 went to the incumbent Randall Mitchell. PNM sources in San Fernando East, however, say there is a great deal of confusion over the voting, including allegations of fraud. Read more here



NGL profits fall 85%

After-tax profits of publicly listed TTNGL plunged by 85 per cent in the first quarter of its 2020 financial year as the company’s investment in Phoenix Park Gas Processors was depressed by “a temporary demand collapse in energy prices across all markets,” TTNGL chairman, former energy minister Conrad. Read more here



CARICOM is competent

THE Government of Guyana has decided not to accept a late re-entry of The Carter Center and the International Republic Institute (IRI) into Guyana to observe the ongoing national recount process, on the basis of the sufficient presence of CARICOM as “the most legitimate interlocutors in the Guyana situation” and the COVID-19 pandemic. This was conveyed to United States (U.S.) Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch, by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Karen Cummings, by way of letter, on Friday, following a previous request for the entry of the international observer group. Earlier on Friday, in an interview with the 94.1 FM’s Jumpstart Morning Show, the U.S. Ambassador had stated that she believes “additional credibility” is needed in Guyana’s national recount process, in the form of The Carter Center, so that Guyanese can have “complete confidence” that their elections were free, fair and credible. Read more here

FID signals asset take-back - FID targets assets after five convicted in $400m fraud trial at Manchester Municipal Corp

THE WAY is now clear for the Government to begin the legal process of seeking to take possession of properties and other assets valued at more than $220 million that have been traced to former Manchester Parish Council official Sanja Elliott. The Manchester Parish Council has since been renamed the Manchester Municipal Corporation (MMC). Already, the properties and assets, which include an apartment complex consisting of 11 units, a four-storey family house, four residential lots, six high-end motor vehicles, as well as a Honda Ridgeline, and several bank accounts, have been frozen by the Supreme Court. Read more here



Steve Linick: Trump fires state department inspector general

The US state department's inspector general, Steve Linick, has become the latest senior official to be fired by US President Donald Trump. Mr Trump said Mr Linick no longer had his full confidence and that he would be removed in 30 days. Mr Linick had begun investigating Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for suspected abuse of office, reports say. Democrats say Mr Trump is retaliating against public servants who want to hold his administration to account. "It is vital that I have the fullest confidence in the appointees serving as inspectors general. That is no longer the case with regard to this inspector general," Mr Trump is quoted as saying in a letter sent late on Friday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, US media report. Not long after Mr Linick's dismissal was announced, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said Mr Linick had opened an investigation into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Read more here

Deserted Venice contemplates a future without tourist hordes after Covid-19

A few days before Italy is set to lift restrictions across much of the country after being locked down since March 10, the streets of Venice are starting to spring back to life. There are no tourists here just yet. Instead the noise is from vacuum cleaners and sanitation crews inside stores that are getting ready for the grand reopening on May 18. But even as shop owners prepare for whatever post-lockdown Venice looks like, everyone here in this deserted tourist town is asking the same question: who are they reopening for? Every year, as many as 30 million tourists from all over the world descend on Venice, pumping up to $2.5 billion into the local economy, according to the Italian Tourism Ministry. Read more here

16th May 2020


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