Daily Brief - Thursday 7th May, 2020


CoP: No data on gender violence during quarantine

Police Commissioner Gary Griffith acknowledged Wednesday that he does not know if there has been an increase in cases of domestic violence in the past six or seven weeks as a result of the confinement against covid19. Speaking to the media during the weekly police press briefing at the Port of Spain Police Administration Building, Griffith said he had a specialised team working to counter violence in TT homes. Although in other countries reports indicate that there was an increase in domestic abuse during quarantine, in TT there are no concrete figures. Read more here

Crisis in petrochemical sector

There is now a full-blown crisis in the local petrochemical sector, with four plants shut down in four months and word that more could be taken out of operation as the sector reels under low commodity prices and the high cost of natural gas in T&T. Yesterday, the largest methanol producer in the country and one of the largest in the world, Proman, announced that it had already suspended operations in one of its plants in T&T and more would be shut down if the situation remains the same.“While we have been working hard to manage these conditions and protect our business and our employees, the combined pressures of the global downturn and a high natural gas pricing environment in Trinidad and Tobago has created significant challenges that will impact the entire value chain,” a release from Proman said. Read more here



Young: Offenders to pay for broken ankle-tags

Any offender who damages their electronic monitoring device will be made to pay for it, Minister of National Security Stuart Young told the Senate on Tuesday. He made the statement during debate on the Administration of Justice (Electronic Monitoring) (Amendment) Bill, 2020, recently passed in the House of Representatives. Speaking later, Independent Senator Sophia Chote disagreed that offenders should pay for damaged devices, and urged they be maintained by insurance. Young said 300 devices are supplied within a $10.3 million package including support, but had previously detailed the cost of the devices themselves as $1.4 million for a batch of 150 and $1 million for 100 devices, suggesting each one costs $10,000. Read more here

I asked for probe of wire transfer, not bank account, says Moonilal

Opposition MP Dr Roodal Moonilal says the wire transfer matter linking Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to A&V Drilling Company is far from over. This is because Moonilal says it is still the subject of an investigation by the Fraud Squad although Police Commissioner Gary Griffith disclosed yesterday that the T&T Police Service (TTPS) had closed the case. At yesterday’s TTPS’ weekly press briefing Griffith said the case had been closed for now as after seeking the assistance of stakeholders in the Financial Intelligence Unit and foreign investigation units, the TTPS could not find evidence to prove Moonilal’s claim. Read more here



Covid19 highlights gaps in TT's food security

As the challenge to stem the spread of covid19 continues, various sectors have experienced losses as a result of the restrictions put in place by the government. TT’s manufacturing, construction, tourism, and agriculture sectors are just some of those areas. Covid19 has indeed shifted the way in which business is done, medical care is executed and the way in which security is handled, in particular food security. With restrictions on the country’s borders, the Ministry of Agriculture said it has been monitoring the threats and risks to farmers. In a recent press release the ministry said it was looking closely at the potential risks of covid19 on food and other incoming shipments related to agriculture out of China and elsewhere. Read more here

Angostura records gain, worries about impact of virus

In an unaudited summary of its consolidated financial statements for the three months ended March 31, 2020 Angostura Holdings Ltd has recorded a first quarter profit of $13.096 million. The company noted that in the first quarter its profit before tax grew by nine per cent or $1.7 million over that of Q12019.However, it said the Group’s profit margins were impacted by increased operating expenses of 17.6 per cent or $8.6 million over the comparative period as well as foreign exchange losses occurred in Q1 2020 due to devaluation of major foreign currencies as a direct result of the economic impact of COVID-19.“Fiscal 2020 was off to a promising start but we are mindful that the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to impact our local and foreign demand, supply chain and distribution and the time required to complete improvement and repair to our waste water treatment plant,” the company said. Read more here

Basic foods already VAT-free

Trade Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon has acknowledged a recommendation from Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar for the removal of import duties and VAT on basic food items as part of the Opposition’s Economic Manifesto Plan. Read more here



‘I’m never going back’ - Returning Jamaican among 115 stranded in UK glad to be home

Michael Forrester, one of the 115 Jamaicans who were stranded in the United Kingdom and arrived aboard a TUI charter flight yesterday, revealed that his main reason for leaving his homeland was to tend to his elderly mother. Now that he has returned, he is pledging never to go back. Among those who have returned are the 43 Marella Discovery 2 crew members who anchored south of Port Royal in April but were denied landing. “It is good to be home! I went away to get my mom down from England. She is in her sixties and she said she wanted to return to have the best years of her life down here,” he told The Gleaner, his face radiating relief. Read more here

‘There’re problems in these boxes’

“Clearly there’re problems in these ballot boxes,” said APNU+AFC agent, Ganesh Mahipaul as he reported on his station during the opening day of the national recount of votes cast at the March2, 2020 General and Regional elections.

Mahipaul had exited the Arthur Chung Conference Centre building at around 13:40 hours coming from workstation five, dealing with the votes cast in Region Three. “The first ballot box we looked at was ballot box number 3046 and on the first count which was done at the place of poll in Leguan, it registered 16 votes for APNU/AFC and 194 votes for the People’s Progressive Party and three votes for the People’s Republic Party,” he said. Read more here



Trump economy faces long-term disaster as jobs data looms

The staggering economic pain -- perhaps the worst since the 1930s -- of the American economy in the time of coronavirus will be graphically underscored in two new rounds of unemployment data that are due on Thursday and Friday. The figures will show Americans who have and will lose their livelihoods as common victims of the most cruel public health crisis in 100 years, along with the sick and the more than 73,000 people who have so far died. Read more here

India gas leak: At least 13 dead after Visakhapatnam incident

At least 13 people have been killed by a massive gas leak at a chemical plant in southern India, with hundreds of others taken to hospital. The leak from the LG Polymers plant in the city of Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh state came as people slept. Doctors say patients have been complaining of a burning sensation in the eyes and difficulties breathing. Areas around the plant have been evacuated. The leak may have been due to negligence, officials say. Reports suggest initial attempts to control the gas leak were unsuccessful but the company and state officials say the situation is now under control. Read more here


7th May 2020


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