Daily Brief - Thursday 5th September, 2019


Gopee-Scoon: Businesses will help Bahamas

Trade Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon told Newsday she was confident TT businesses were both willing and able to help hurricane-ravaged Bahamas, speaking at a function at Export TT in Port of Spain yesterday. “Let me say we commiserate with the people of the Bahamas. The Prime Minister (Dr Keith Rowley) has been out in front in touch with the Prime Minister of the Bahamas. “This has really been a devastating hurricane. It’s shocked all of us. All attention has been on the people of Abaco and Grand Bahama, all over the world. There’s been a tremendous loss of life and property. The destruction is severe.” Saying Dr Rowley has asked people to donate to help Bahamas, she said she had spoke to the local Bahamas honorary counsel and to TT Manufacturers Association (TTMA.) Read more here



TT gas still competitive

The good news is BP’s group chief economist, Spencer Dale, thinks TT is still competitive as a natural gas producer. “If you look at the economics (efficiency) that you can get gas out of the ground and bring it to market, then yes. The issues associated with TT going forward is time – can you carry on producing new gas at that same capacity at a price that remains competitive,” Dale told the audience at BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy presentation yesterday at the Hyatt Regency in Port of Spain. At the moment the country is managing to remain competitive, he said, but the pressure to maintain that and keep up levels of gas production and competitive pricing is going to be difficult going forward. “That’s not saying you can’t do it but rather that it’s tougher because the market is getting more integrated. You have to be lean to stay in.” Read more here

Bahamas death toll rises to 20

The Min­is­ter of Health in the Ba­hamas, Dr Du­ane Sands has con­firmed that the death toll from Hur­ri­cane Do­ri­an now stands at 20, as at 6 pm yes­ter­day. There were 17 deaths in Aba­co and three in Grand Ba­hama. This is an in­crease of 13 over the pre­vi­ous day, which stood at sev­en. The news came as more help from around the world has been pledged to the Ba­hamas fol­low­ing the dev­as­ta­tion caused by Hur­ri­cane Do­ri­an. Cana­di­an Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau post­ed to so­cial me­dia re­veal­ing some de­tails of his dis­cus­sion with Min­nis. Read more here



TT braces for Brexit

The Government will soon bring legislation to Parliament to enact a treaty signed between Cariforum and the UK to prevent any sudden imposition of tariffs if the UK leaves the European Union (EU). Trade Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon told Newsday this yesterday at a function at Export TT in Port of Spain. Her promised action came even as British politics descended into chaos. She assured the Government was keeping abreast of developments in the UK. Yesterday, a cross-party alliance including 21 rebels from the ruling Conservative Party passed the first stage of a bill in the House of Commons to stop the UK leaving the EU without agreed terms (known as a "no-deal Brexit"), as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had promised for October 31.Read more here

Pressure mounts on Govt to amend Sedition Act

Has there been a change in the Gov­ern­ment’s po­si­tion on the Sedi­tion Act? The ques­tion arose yes­ter­day af­ter an at­tor­ney in the Of­fice of the At­tor­ney Gen­er­al, Solange de Souza, asked Na­tion­al Trade Union Cen­tre of T&T (NATUC) gen­er­al sec­re­tary Michael An­nisette to sub­mit on the union’s be­half, draft amend­ments to the con­tro­ver­sial Sedi­tion Act be­fore Sep­tem­ber 17. Speak­ing af­ter­wards, An­nisette said he viewed the min­istry’s re­quests for amend­ments as con­tra­dic­to­ry in light of Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley and Min­is­ter in the Min­istry of the At­tor­ney Gen­er­al and Le­gal Af­fairs Fitzger­ald Hinds’ views that the old laws will not be thrown out. Read more here



Break import dependency

There is no one single policy measure that can fix our economic woes and solve the foreign exchange (forex) challenge, UWI economist Dr Vaalmiki Arjoon believes. In an interview with Business Day, Arjoon said what we need is to implement a combination of urgent measures simultaneously which should take precedence over a devaluation. According to Arjoon, devaluation would primarily focus on the demand side of the forex. What TT needs to do is focus more on the supply side and generate more forex. This would involve the development of policies geared towards empowering the private sector. Read more here



Long Fight For St James - Commish Bats For Maintaining SOE ‘Until Conditions Change’

Pointing to a sharp rise in murders when a previous state of emergency (SOE) was brought to an end in the parish last January, the island’s police commissioner has suggested that the current SOE in St James must continue as part of a long-term effort until significant change occurs in the deplorable crime situation facing communities in the west. The current St James SOE was implemented in April, months after the Opposition voted last December against any further extension of an SOE that first came into force in January 2018. That SOE came to an end on January 31, 2019. “As soon as it stopped the last time, [the killings] started to go up again,” said Major General Antony Anderson, the head of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, as he addressed a Lions Club of Kingston luncheon at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in St Andrew yesterday. “St James has been violent for a while and is in need of long-term strategies. We have to use every tool in our tool box to keep people safe in St James,” the police commissioner added. Read more here



CNN reaches critical airport in the Bahamas. This is what they found

CNN’s Patrick Oppmann and his crew have spotted US coast guard helicopters and planes flying over the Bahamas' Grand Bahama Island early this morning in an encouraging sign for the escalation of aid efforts. Up until now, there's been no sign of any assistance from the outside world, as it’s been a near impossible feat for planes to land on the island with the Grand Bahama International Airport nearly completely destroyed by the hurricane. Oppmann described a scene of “total devastation" at the airport this week, after the storm surge submerged the airport for two days, tearing apart some of its terminals and leaving planes scattered “like toys.” Read more here

Boris Johnson attacks Jeremy Corbyn for blocking a general election

The PM will accuse Jeremy Corbyn of "a cowardly insult to democracy" later for not backing a general election. Boris Johnson - who sources say regards this as the first day of an election campaign - will argue the Labour leader is denying people their say on the progress of Brexit. On Wednesday, MPs blocked Mr Johnson's plan for an early election. Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said Labour wanted an election but its priority was stopping a no-deal Brexit. Opposition parties are in talks about how to respond to the prime minister's call for a snap election on 15 October, amid concern over whether a poll should be delayed until after an extension has been agreed to prevent a no-deal Brexit on 31 October. Read more here

5th September 2019


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