Daily Brief - Thursday 18th June, 2020

TTMA IN THE NEWS

TTMA Manufacturing Strategy to bring export to $4 billion

By the year 2025, the T&T Manufacturers Association (TTMA) has revealed that its newly launched manufacturing strategy would produce 40 large manufacturers, who should in turn, be exporting $4billion in value. Speaking yesterday at the virtual launch of the TTMA’s Manufacturing Export Strategy, TTMA’s President Franka Costelloe said: “Today 20 of 1,154 companies represent $2.9B in exports, that is 80% of exports. To grow, we need more. We believe that the manufacturers amongst our 890 SMEs are going to do that for us. By 2025, we should have 40 companies contributing $4b in export.” According to Costelloe, T&T’s SMEs are the country’s next generation of business and bigger companies need to partner in our thrust for a stronger, sustainable non-energy sector. Read more here

 

NEWS

First Citizens offers free counselling to domestic abuse victims

First Citizens Foundation’s Advancement of Women (AOW) committee has partnered with clinical and consulting agency, Douglas and Associates, to provide a free and confidential online counselling service to victims of domestic abuse. The service will be offered for a period of five months. The bank made the announcement in a media release on Tuesday. It said, the national domestic violence hotline saw an increase reports of domestic abuse during the covid19 stay-at-home order. The data is based on a report produced by the Office of the Prime Minister, Gender and Child Affairs division, from January to March. “At FCB, we are doing our part to ensure that victims of domestic violence receive support as a matter of priority.” Read more here

Quarantined cruise ship workers confined to cabins

While quarantined nationals aboard Royal Caribbean International’s Enchantment of the Seas are upset that the Ministry of Health took away their daily exercise period, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh says quarantine facilities are not home. Responding to the complaints during yesterday’s virtual COVID-19 update, Deyalsingh said personnel moved crew members to larger staterooms so that each person can have more space. He said he understands the hardship they are facing but said the ministry is trying to preserve their lives. “It is a quarantine facility; it is not your home, unfortunately,” Deyalsingh said. Read more here

POLITICS

Vasant Bharath denies switching to PNM

Vasant Bharath is denying he has switched political allegiance from the United National Congress (UNC) to the People’s National Movement (PNM). Bharath, who is part of the government’s roadmap to economic recovery committee, was forced to defend his loyalty to his party after a video was circulated on social media. It showed him standing behind his former Cabinet colleague, now contender for the Moruga Tableland seat for the PNM Winston Gypsy Peters. Peters appeared to be campaigning. However, Bharath – a former UNC MP and minister – took to Facebook to dismiss the circulation of the video as pure mischief. Read more here

Khan bows out from Barataria/San Juan

Dr Fuad Khan, the long-serving Member of Parliament for Barataria/San Juan has bowed out of politics after he told the UNC screening committee last night that he does not want to be its standard-bearer in the upcoming general election. “You ever think you want to go before the sun sets? You go before the sun is set,” a surprised Khan told Guardian Media. He expressed concern with the speed that his decision was relayed to Guardian Media, initially saying no comment but eventually accepting that his time in the Parliament had effectively come to an end. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Caroni Swamp, an untapped goldmine

Just as we are about to leave, the rains come. “That’ll clear up in no time. You all still want to go?” Lester Nanan asks me and Newsday’s chief photographer Jeff Mayers. “Of course!” we respond, eager for the adventure into the Caroni Bird Sanctuary. Nanan and some of his workers are preparing one of the open-top, flat-bottomed boats to take us on a trip up Channel 9, one of the Caroni River’s tributaries. This will lead us to the lake where we will soon see the national bird, the scarlet ibis, coming in to roost for the evening among the mangrove islands that dot the Caroni Swamp. Read more here

Bars, restaurants roll out new protocols for reopening next week

The food and beverage sector may be slowly reopening but its economic future looks grim even after Government’s restrictions are eventually lifted post the COVID-19 pandemic. And moreso the future is also grim for the thousands of employees who work in the sector. At a press conference yesterday, President of the T&T Beverage Alcohol Alliance Dr Patrick Antione described the losses as staggering. “We don’t see the sector recovering, making up that stagger at all even though the sector comes out of lockdown at this stage,” Antione said. Read more here

TSTT, Digicel clash over number portability

Digicel has sent rival mobile provider TSTT a strongly worded letter calling on it to desist from refusing to operate number portability or face legal action. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

‘Count only valid votes’

Supporters of the ‘A Partnership for National Unity and the Alliance For Change’ (APNU+AFC) coalition protested in front of the Guyana Elections Commission’s (GECOM’s) Mackenzie office, on Wednesday, demanding that only credible votes of the March 2 elections be declared. The protest which was led by former Member of Parliament, Jermaine Figueira, heard chants like “FRAUD IS FRAUD;” “COUNT ONLY VALID VOTES,” and “REGION 10 WILL NOT ACCEPT FRAUDULENT RESULTS,” being shouted by the peaceful protesters. Read more here

Old Hands Take Charge Of Education, Labour

Once ringfenced without portfolios in the Office of the Prime Minister, veteran politicians Karl Samuda and Mike Henry have been given a second wind with full appointments to the respective portfolios of education and labour. The endorsement by Prime Minister Andrew Holness on Wednesday comes in the sunset of both men’s political careers. While the rationale for the prime minister’s decision was unclear, neither Samuda, 78, nor Henry, 85, has indicated an intention to step aside from parliamentary representation. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Bolton book bombshells: Trump asked China's Xi for reelection help and told him to keep building concentration camps

Former national security adviser John Bolton has leveled a stunning accusation against his former boss, claiming in his new book that President Donald Trump personally asked his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, to help him win the 2020 US presidential election, according to a copy obtained by CNN Wednesday. Bolton also charged that when Xi told Trump last year that China was building concentration camps for the mass detention of Uyghur Muslims, Trump said Xi should go ahead building the camps, "which he thought was exactly the right thing to do." Read more here

Galwan Valley: Image appears to show nail-studded rods used in India-China brawl

An image has emerged showing a crude weapon purportedly used by Chinese forces in the fatal brawl along China's disputed border with India on Monday. The fight in the Galwan Valley left at least 20 Indian soldiers dead and raised tensions between the two powers. China did not acknowledge any casualties among its forces. Both sides accused the other of an incursion. The border between the two nations in the region is poorly demarcated and can shift with topographical changes. Read more here

18th June 2020

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