Daily Brief - Thursday 25th March, 2021

TTMA IN THE NEWS

Tricia Coosal Named New TTMA President

Tricia Coosal as been appointed as the new President of the Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers Association. Coosal’s appointment as the 65th President, was confirmed at the TTMA’s Annual General meeting at the Hyatt on Wednesday. She succeeds Franka Costello as President, becoming the association’s third female president since its inception in 1956. Coosal had served as Costello’s Vice President for the past two years. Read more here

 

NEWS

Heritage, EOG sign Gulf of Paria oil exploration deal

Hailing a new deal for EOG Resources to explore for oil in the Gulf of Paria in a 14,000 hectare area owned by the State-run Heritage Petroleum Company, the Prime Minister urged more drilling in both sea and land areas so as to boost the national coffers. Dr Rowley addressed the signing ceremony between EOG and Heritage on Wednesday at the latter's office in Port of Spain. The area is in the southern part of the 97,000 hectare Trinidad Northern Areas (TNA) Block which the Ministry of Energy last month licensed to Heritage, which has a 35 per cent participating interest, while EOG has 65 per cent, according to a Heritage statement. The first exploratory well is expected this year. Read more here

T&T records 38 new COVID cases, largest spike for year

Trinidad and Tobago has recorded its highest COVID-19 statistics for the year, as the Ministry of Health revealed yesterday that 38 new positive cases were confirmed between March 21 to 23. Prior to yesterday’s startling statistics, the highest number of positive COVID cases stood at 21, which was recorded on February 4 and before that 20 cases on January 21. Yesterday’s statistics came on the heels of a warning by the Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram on Monday that this country appears to be on the verge of a significant increase in COVID cases. The CMO and other health officials have been warning about an upsurge in cases in county Caroni over the past few weeks and urging citizens to adhere to health protocols to prevent an uptick in cases, as they repeatedly stated T&T is not out of the woods when it came to COVID. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Drug supplier: We have no link with Deyalsingh

Vary Medical & Scientific Co Ltd says it has no connection to Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh, contrary to recent assertions made by political commentators. The company, which describes itself as having been a provider of medical goods and services since 2012, issued a statement on Wednesday, two days after Deyalsingh also denied a family link between the minister and the company. Deyalsingh also said no contractual arrangement had been reached between the Health Ministry and Vary. Read more here

T&T to get 140,000 vaccines from India, China

Growing tensions between T&T and India over the gifting of COVID-19 vaccines to the CARICOM region ended yesterday, following the announcement it would be donating 40,000 doses of the WHO-approved Astra Zeneca vaccine to this country. The donation came after official correspondence from Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to the India Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Monday’s meeting between CARICOM and Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Amery Browne and India’s High Commissioner to T&T Arun Kumar Sahu. Alongside India’s donation was another gift from the People’s Republic of China, which agreed to donate 100,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine to T&T. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

800-TECH, support for companies to go digital

If COVID19 and 2020 taught businesses anything, it was that they had to stay flexible and agile as the world changed overnight. Businesses now have to learn how to mix their workforce with home-based employees and employees based in a centralised office in order to maintain productivity and to keep people employed. Read more here

Bungling away our economic prospects

One of the things I have always believed in is the concept of beat reporting. For the non journalists it is about covering one specific area so that you specialise in that part of journalism, develop your contacts and are able to tell the story, the real story, to your audience in a way and with confidence that a general reporter won’t be able to. Unfortunately, there is a lot of general news coverage by my colleagues and it makes it far more difficult for individual reporters to move out of the reporting mode of the “he said she said” and really drill down on the issues. It is why so much of what happens in T&T does not get the kind of rigour and scrutiny it deserves. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Persons 40 and over can now get COVID-19 vaccine

From as early as next week, persons who are 40 years and older will be able to access the COVID-19 vaccines currently being administered to frontline healthcare workers and citizens ages 60 and above. President, Dr. Irfaan Ali, made the announcement on Wednesday night during a broadcast address to the nation. As part of the notable expansion of the vaccination programme, the Government is aiming to have at least 10,000 persons vaccinated each day, as means of ensuring Guyana achieves herd immunity. “To aggressively expand the programme, the Government of Guyana has secured 200,000 doses of vaccines and is exploring the further procurement of another 200,000 doses aimed at achieving herd immunity in the fastest possible timeframe,” Dr. Ali informed. Read more here

Gov’t needled to pursue unapproved brands as AstraZeneca supplies halted by India

Uncertainty looms over whether the Jamaican Government’s immunisation drive will be hamstrung after India placed a temporary hold on all exports of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. Rising infections in the subcontinent have driven up...Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

'One mistake after the other.' How AstraZeneca went from pandemic hero to villain

After teaming up with Oxford University, AstraZeneca produced a safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine in just nine months, a huge achievement that will help end the pandemic. But a series of missteps along the way has led to scathing criticism from policymakers and health officials, tarnishing the company's image as a hero of the coronavirus era. The Anglo-Swedish drugmaker mistakenly gave some volunteers a half dose of the vaccine during clinical trials, and it has been criticized for omitting crucial information from its public statements. US regulators have questioned the accuracy of its vaccine data, and severe production delays in Europe have resulted in a political firestorm and a breakdown in relations with EU leaders. Read more here

Nike, H&M face China fury over Xinjiang cotton 'concerns'

Retail giants Nike and H&M are facing a backlash in China after they expressed concern about the alleged use of forced Uighur labour in the production of Xinjiang cotton. Many Chinese have called for boycotts, celebrities have cut ties, and e-commerce platforms have dropped H&M. It comes as several Western countries imposed sanctions on China this week. It is accused of committing serious human rights violations against the Uighur Muslim minority in Xinjiang. The sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, target senior officials in the north-west region. In December the BBC published in an investigation based on new research showing China was forcing hundreds of thousands of minorities including Uighurs into manual labour in Xinjiang's cotton fields. Read more here

25th March 2021

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