Daily Brief - Thursday 28th January, 2021

NEWS

Excellent Stores to close Trincity, Arima branches

Excellent Stores is closing its Trincity and Arima branches, on the heels of the closure of its Port of Spain branch last December. The Trincity store, at Trincity Mall, closes on March 31, and April 30 is the last business day for the Arima store at Shoppes of Arima. Excellent CEO Alex Sui Chong made the announcement in a statement shared on the company's Facebook page on Wednesday. Read more here

Can the Tobago economy stand on its own?

The THA election is over for now, and issues of corruption, the use of public funds, governance and internal self government dominated the campaign trail. But should Tobago get internal self government as has been demanded by the island then can its economy stand on its own, or will it simply be a case of taxes from Trinidad being remitted to an island that has no responsibility to account for its use? Well, Tobago-born economist Dr Vanus James believes that Tobago’s economy must be seen in the context of what he calls Tobago’s waters and the hydrocarbons that are contained in them. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Confusion as no confidence motion defeated

The vote of no confidence in National Security Minister Stuart Young brought by Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has been defeated in the Parliament. Eighteen members voted for while 20 voted against, and there were no abstentions. The ten-hour debate came to an end when house leader Terrence Deyalsingh moved a motion that the question be put to the House. Read more here

Fresh elections the only way forward in THA impasse

Tobago may be headed to an election rerun if the two parties, the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) and the People’s National Movement (PNM) cannot come to an agreement about the appointment of a new President Officer and Chief Secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) today. Former attorney general Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj was the architect of the THA Act and both he and former ambassador Reginald Dumas agree that there are very few ways to resolve the current 6-6 deadlock in Tobago. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

A whole new world: building the virtual worlds of Antillea

Shawn De Freitas, co-founder and CEO of Dingole, answered questions posed by Mark Lyndersay about the production of the virtual worlds of Antillea. Antillea’s first project was an augmented reality museum commemorating the centenary of calypso music. Panjam is its current flagship project – a virtual reality (VR) concept that reimagines music learning for seniors using the steelpan. Read more here

The longest rope has an end

The people of Tobago have spoken and they have repudiated Tracy Davidson-Celestine’s People’s National Movement (PNM). The party on Monday night lost four more seats in the assembly than it started off with, and narrowly won the popular vote. There is now a sense that the Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) is on the march to securing control of Tobago. Of course we have a stalemate with a 6/6 deadlock and, at time of writing, it was not clear which party will be in control of the Executive Council in Tobago, but a mere five months after the people voted in the general election to return the two Tobago seats to the PNM, and with the national party led by a Tobago-born Prime Minister who has focused much of his time and interest on delivering things to the people of Tobago, this conundrum must be a bitter pill to swallow. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Vaccine Race - Local Businesses Join Hunt For Jab As Global Rivals Threaten Drugmakers

Despite Jamaica’s expectation of receiving more than 900,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine for the first phase of the roll-out set for April, the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) cautioned on Wednesday that it could not commit to the timelines and amounts for the 190 countries under the COVAX Facility. That revelation comes in the wake of a global race for the life-saving jab amid a pandemic that has infected more than 100 million people globally and killed 2.1 million. Jamaica’s coronavirus deaths climbed to 342 on Tuesday and overall cases to 15,241. Read more here

OAS condemns Venezuela’s illegal detention of Guyanese fishermen

DAYS after Venezuelan authorities detained and charged Guyanese fishermen who were operating in Guyana’s waters along the Waini River in Guyana’s territory, the Organisation of American States (OAS) has condemned this illegal detention and called for the immediate release of the men and their vessels. In a terse statement issued by the organisation’s General Secretariat on Wednesday, the OAS said, “The General Secretariat demands that the Guyanese citizens are released promptly and safely to Guyanese authorities, as well as the two detained vessels.” Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

In the Republican Party, the post-Trump era lasted a week

Two roads diverged in American politics, and the Republican Party chose the one traveled by disgraced ex-President Donald Trump and QAnon conspiracy theorists. While pundits ponder the GOP's future -- and traditionalists hope to change course out of the wreckage left by Trump's insurrection -- Washington's power players and state activists have already made their choice. Highlighting the former President's lightning fast rehabilitation, the House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy will visit Trump in Florida on Thursday after repudiating his own criticism of the incitement of the US Capitol riot. Read more here

Coronavirus: Germany facing '10 tough weeks' of vaccine shortages

Germany is likely to face a shortage of coronavirus vaccines until at least April, the country's health minister has warned. "We will still have at least 10 tough weeks with a shortage," Jens Spahn wrote on Twitter. The pace of Germany's rollout has been criticised, and it has failed to meet its own daily target of vaccinations. Mr Spahn's comments come amid a row between the EU and the vaccine maker AstraZeneca over supply shortages. The UK-based company has said production issues at its Europe-based plants means it will be unable to deliver the promised number of doses to the 27-member bloc. But the EU said the firm must honour its commitments and deliver the jabs by diverting stock from the UK. Read more here

28th January 2021

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