Daily Brief - Thursday 4th August, 2022

NEWS

Angostura earns 21% increase in profits

Angostura has announced a 21 per cent increase in after-tax profit for the first half of the fiscal period ending June 30. In its consolidated financial statements released on Wednesday, Angostura said its profit was $67.6 million, up by $12 million, compared to the same period in the last fiscal period. Angostura earned $261.4 million locally as trade with bars, hotels and restaurants recovered in the second quarter. Internationally, revenue grew by 29 per cent, from $137.8 million to $178 million. Read more here

Economist: Regional food plan needed

Geopolitical tensions are heightening between the United States and China following the visit of US House Speaker Nancy Poloski to Taiwan, and this could have devastating consequences in the Caribbean region as it relates to food security, says agriculture economist Omardath Maharaj. Speaking to Guardian Media yesterday, Maharaj said the Caricom region must begin making adjustments in terms of food, feed, fuel and fertiliser needs. He said countries like the US and China, from which T&T imports food and agricultural products, may withhold products shortly. “Traditional food exporting countries may revisit their export strategies and internal policies towards building reserves to maintain food and nutrition security of their populations. It puts Trinidad and Tobago, and other Caricom members—more than 18 million people, in an awkward and exposed position,” Maharaj said. Read more here

 

POLITICS

At long last

Government’s appointment of a five-member committee to review the placement of statues, monuments and other historical signage in Trinidad and Tobago is long overdue. So says former head of the Eman­cipation Support Committee of Trinidad and Tobago (ESCTT) Khafra Kambon. However, the composition of the committee is not sitting well with director of the Caribbean Freedom Project Shabaka Kambon and the Warao community’s Shaman (spi­ritual leader) Raould Simon. Read more here

JTUM reminds Govt of its ‘strong’ rejection of 4 % wage offer

The Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) has once again sent a message to the Government that it is rejecting the four per cent salary wage increase offered to public sector workers. The statement follows a new position expressed by Chief Personnel Officer (CPO) Dr Daryl Dindial to the protective services that four per cent (0,0,2,0,0,2) is the final offer from the Government. The offer covers the bargaining period 2014 to 2019. However, speaking with Guardian Media yesterday, JTUM general secretary Ozzi Warrick said the union umbrella body had reaffirmed its rejection of the offer. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Out and equal: LGBTQI advocate talks inclusivity in the business world

No citizen of Trinidad and Tobago – a rich, diverse, beautiful country with opportunities for all its citizens to thrive – should have to leave simply because they are different. This was the position of Allyn Shaw, an activist for inclusivity visiting from New York, and executive for Wells Fargo and Company. Shaw, who serves on the board of Out and Equal, an LGBT community centre in New York, is an elected member of the Victory Fund Campaign Board which seeks to actively increase the number of queer voices in public office. He was recognised by the US State Department as a notable LGBTQI+ American, driving economic equality. He was also named to Diversity MBA World’s top 100 business leaders under 50, and in 2020 he was honoured by Adweek for his role in changing the face of LGBTQI inclusion across the global landscape. Most recently he was awarded the Tri-State Unity Council’s LBGTQI+ Leadership Award at their 2022 Unity Summit. Read more here

Regional economist: Time to replace TT dollar, remove VAT

As food prices continue to skyrocket, coupled with high inflation, should T&T adopt similar measures as that of Barbados which saw the recent widening of its VAT-free basket of goods? T&T-born regional economist Dr Justin Ram who resides in Barbados recommends that the T&T Government instead do away with Value Added Tax (VAT) altogether and implement a simple sales tax to not only alleviate the burden on citizens but stimulate economic growth. Describing VAT as a “cumbersome tax” Ram explained, “Replace it (VAT) with a general, simpler sales tax at a lower rate than what VAT is right now. The bulk of income should really be coming from a sales tax and reduce the burden of income taxes particularly on PAYE (Pay As You Earn) and on corporation tax because, ultimately, you need to get investment going and give people the opportunity to get good paying jobs.” Last month Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley unveiled an $18 million package to provide much-needed relief, acknowledging the daily constraints Barbadians face in dealing with high prices for basic goods, energy, and gas. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Over $700M to be disbursed across Region Six

Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr Ashni Singh, has said that $700 million will be disbursed across Region Six through the education cash grant initiative, which was rolled out countrywide on Tuesday. During a distribution exercise at the J.C. Chandisingh Secondary School, Dr Singh, said: “I don’t want you to view this cash grant as an isolated initiative… it represents a much larger policy initiative being implemented by the government. “We will ensure adequate access and we are building out enough infrastructure. I know that you have a high level of trained teachers already in Region Six, but you are not at 100 per cent. Our objective is to achieve 100 per cent trained teacher status. Thirdly, we are committed to ensuring that all schools are equipped to deliver quality education.” Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Ukraine war: No sleep in Ukraine’s relentlessly bombed city

The first night is always the hardest in Mykolaiv. Sleep is near impossible in a Ukrainian city that has been under almost constant Russian bombardment since the start of the war in February. Your mind is either racing - frantically trying to work out how close the latest explosion was, whether it was a missile or a rocket, a one-off or part of a salvo - or wondering how long it might be before the windows shudder again and the screaming blare of the air raid siren sounds. But if visitors like me, on my third trip to the city since the war began, find the long nights challenging, how do local people - who reckon they have had just 20 or so quiet nights since the war began - possibly cope? "Sleep? Not much," said the manager of our hotel one morning last week. She had seemed irrepressibly energetic in March, racing past the boarded-up windows to show guests the makeshift bomb shelter in the cellar. But now her face betrayed the exhaustion that appears to be overwhelming much of Mykolaiv. Read more here

 

4th August 2022

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