Daily Brief - Thursday 22nd October, 2020

NEWS

Deyalsingh: 101 covid19 deaths a wake-up call to nation

"It’s a wake-up call for the nation." This was the reaction of Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh in response to the grim milestone of TT reaching and crossing the 100 covid19 death mark on Wednesday. Seven months after recording its first death from the virus, the country marked its 101st fatality on Wednesday according to the ministry's daily 4 pm update. Three more deaths took the toll from 98 to 101. Read more here

CMO offers hope to restaurants, bars, churches

The daily average of COVID-19 cases has decreased during the current period of restrictions and the Ministry of Health is hoping the trend continues to the end of the week. If it does, this could mean some respite for bars, restaurants and religious organisations come Saturday when Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announces the way forward as the current health restrictions expire. Speaking during a virtual press conference yesterday, Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram said the latest figures for last week indicate a daily case average of around 30, down from the previous week’s cases. Read more here

 

 

POLITICS

Robinson-Regis: Take $$ from UNC corporations

Planning Minister Camille Robinson-Regis drew the ire of Opposition MPs during the House’s Standing Finance Committee meeting on Tuesday afternoon when she said budget funds can be shifted from corporations such as Penal/Debe, Siparia, Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo and Princes Town – all UNC-controlled – and given to other corporations. “Part of the objective of the Standing Finance Committee (is) that if members on the other side have any suggestions as to where we should move money, they can make those suggestions. “So if they think Sangre Grande didn’t get enough for cemeteries or local health authority, they can say, ‘Let us take it from Penal/Debe,” Robinson-Regis said on Tuesday. Read more here

Young put out of House after race talk

National Security Minister Stuart Young was put out of the Parliament Chamber yesterday for refusing to withdraw his accusation that UNC MPs were making “racist” remarks during deliberations. UNC MP Dave Tancoo also slammed Young for calling him “boy”. Finance Minister Colm Imbert also received repeated reprimands in Parliament when he continuously “buffed” UNC MPs on Tobago issues. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Responding to the cybersecurity threat

For years, conversations about cybersecurity in Trinidad and Tobago have surfaced. Seminars have been held. Consultants have spoken. Minor hacks have been reported. Two weeks ago, a major cybersecurity incident took place with an attack by a Russian ransomware organisation targeting the operations of Ansa McAl. The attack began in Barbados and spread to the company's operations in TT, leading to a shutdown of Tatil and Tatil Life. Read more here

Ramps Logistics wins Internationally known...T&T Company of the Year Award

The T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce has announced that Ramps Logistics Limited has been awarded “Internationally Known...T&T Owned Company of the Year” of the 2020 Champions of Business Awards. In a release, the Chamber indicated that the category recognises a company for its achievements in taking incredible steps to move their business from a local operation to an International player. Ramps Logistics Limited is one of the region’s leading logistics providers. Formed in 1985 by Ramnarine Rampersad as a customs brokerage provider, the company employed just 1 person. By 2000, the company began offering freight forwarding services, with an increased employee base of 12 and partnering with major shipping lines to bring cargo to and from Trinidad. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

More electoral fraud charges

FIVE persons, including Chairperson of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNC/R), Volda Lawrence; opposition activist, Carol Joseph and Returning Officer for Region Four, Clairmont Mingo, were, on Wednesday, hauled before the court on electoral fraud charges. Lawrence, a former Health Minister; Joseph, Mingo and Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) clerks, Michelle Miller and Denise Bob-Cummings, were all arraigned separately before Principal Magistrate, Sherdel Isaacs-Marcus, at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court. Read more here

Golden Age Cluster - 43 COVID-19 Cases Discovered Among Elderly Residents, Staff At Kingston Home

A COVID-19 cluster of 43 cases discovered at the Golden Age Home in Vineyard Town, Kingston, has triggered emergency protocols to cauterise the spread of the deadly virus among the high-risk group. In a release last night, the Ministry of Health & Wellness said that COVID-19 testing was being expedited for persons linked to the facility, pointing out that the cases were found among residents and staff after 72 tests were conducted. With the facility being home to 428 elderly residents and with a staff complement of 162, dark clouds now gather over the facility as more persons tested so far returned positive results. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Obama delivers scathing rebuke of Trump before final debate

Barack Obama, in a moment of catharsis that doubled as a warning against Democratic complacency, blasted President Donald Trump in a speech dripping with ridicule ahead of Thursday's crucial debate -- perhaps the President's last chance to turn around his campaign. The former President on Wednesday released four years of pent-up frustration in a scathing Philadelphia appearance that is likely to further irk an already irritable commander-in-chief ahead of his showdown with Democratic nominee Joe Biden. The debate in Nashville, Tennessee, comes at a fateful moment in the White House race as fresh polls emphasize the task Trump faces in pulling off another shock election triumph in 12 days. Read more here

FBI says Iran and Russia have US voter information

US national security officials say Iran was responsible for sending threatening emails to Democratic voters ahead of next month's presidential election. The emails appeared to come from a far-right pro-Trump group and were meant to "incite unrest", National Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe said. Mr Ratcliffe also said US officials found Iran and Russia had obtained "some voter registration information". Both Iran and Russia denied the accusations of election interference. "Iran's strong rejection of American officials' repetitive, baseless and false claims was conveyed to the Swiss ambassador [who represents US interests in Tehran]," Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told state TV. "As we have said before, it makes no difference for Iran who wins the US election," he added. Read more here

22nd October 2020

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