Daily Brief - Tuesday 12th May, 2020

NEWS

Show compassion on employee leave

The American Chamber of Commerce (Amcham TT) is calling on companies to show compassion when addressing the thorny issue of employee leave, once covid19 restrictions are lifted. The chamber, through its webinar “Navigating HR & IR Issues During the Pandemic,” said there must be balance in an employer’s legal obligations on employee leave, engagement with unions and work-from-home policies. Chamber CEO Nirad Tewarie said, “It’s important that companies employ compassionate solutions that will help them to effectively engage with their employees so their concerns are addressed while maintaining business continuity during these uncertain times.” Read more here

Young: Buy your food outside but eat it home

Buy your food outside and carry it home to eat because police can charge you for eating it at the vendors' sites - and Government might be forced to halt food businesses again. This was the warning from National Security Minister Stuart Young at yesterday’s daily COVID-19 media update as food sector business restarted in phase one of Government's COVID- 19 reopening plan. While food businesses were allowed to operate again is was only allowed for pick-up as in-house dining is still debarred and until 8 pm daily. But Young said Government had been getting reports and photos of people congregating at vendors’ sites and standing very closely together, against the physical distancing call by Government. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Young: Clause prevented fuel sale to Venezuela

National Security Minister Stuart Young said the contract for the sale of fuel from Paria to Aruba had a clause preventing sale to sanctioned countries, including Venezuela. He was speaking on Monday at the daily media briefing hosted by the Ministry of Health. Young said the conversation began with certain Trinidadian voices firstly focusing on the sale of fuel by Paria en route to Aruba, and whether it ended up somewhere else (Venezuela). Read more here

Deyalsingh denies phase one plan only benefitting big businesses

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh has denied the Government's decision to reopen restaurants in the first phase of the reopening plan was aimed at benefitting big businesses. On Saturday, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announced restaurants and roadside vendors would be able to operate until 8 pm with no dine-in services at the locations as part of the phase reopening plan following weeks of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. But some on social media criticised the move, calling it a measure meant to only benefit a few. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

First Citizens records half-year profits

The First Citizens Group has recorded a profit after tax for first  six month of the 2020 financial year of  $404.4 million a 2.4 per cent increase of 2.4 per when compared to same period last year. For the three-month period ended March 31, 2020, the First Citizens recorded profit after tax of $181.7 million, but the institution’s chairman Anthony Smart said the impact of COVID-19 would be reflected in the organisation’s third quarter results onwards. Read more here

Businesses worry over long closure

Some small and medium businesses have already sent home staff with no guarantee of re-employment and may permanently close down, due to loss of revenue during the ongoing “lockdown” against the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

High spirits! - Alcohol interests say cheers as Gov’t loosens COVID ban on bars

Bar operators have been given a reprieve as the Holness administration prepares to loosen the strictures which have for two months kept the doors of saloons shuttered. Operators of Jamaica’s 10,000 registered bars will be allowed to accept up to four drinkers. The announcement was made yesterday a Jamaica House briefing and will come into effect on May 19. Bar operators have been racking up losses as the Government ordered their operations closed amid the COVID-19 outbreak here. Jamaica has recorded 505 SARS-CoV-2 infections and nine related deaths. Read more here

12 New Cases in 3 Days

A disaster is looming in the “land of many waters,” as cases of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) disease continue to rise at a relatively fast pace.
“Guyanese, a disaster is at our very back door and unless we exercise caution and adhere to the control measures, the model figures of 1,400 and 20,000 can become a reality,” said Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence, during a COVID-19 update, on Monday. The Ministry of Public Health, using the Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) method, had initially projected 1,400 cases, but a study done by PAHO/WHO found that with every case, another 2.5 persons will be affected within five days if there is no partial lockdown and if persons do not exercise effective social distancing. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Trump goes on wild tweetstorm to distract from Fauci testimony

Hours before his top medical adviser is expected to contradict his assurances that it's safe to reopen America, President Donald Trump is on a Twitter tear amplifying conspiracy theories and covering up for his own racially-tinged rhetoric to distract from his failures during the pandemic. Trump is making unfounded charges against his predecessor Barack Obama and wading into the row over his treatment of an Asian American journalist ahead of an appearance before a Senate committee by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government's top infectious disease specialist, and oral arguments before the Supreme Court about Trump's ability to keep his financial information and taxes from the public. Read more here

Afghan attack: Babies killed as gunmen storm maternity ward

Two babies and 11 mothers and nurses have been killed in an attack on a hospital in the Afghan capital. Another 15 people, including a number of children, were injured when several gunmen attacked the Kabul hospital on Tuesday morning, officials said. Part of the hospital is run by the international medical charity, Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF), and some of those working there are foreigners. Meanwhile, in the east, an attack at a police funeral has killed at least 21. Dozens more were injured in that bomb blast and casualty numbers in both attacks could rise. It is not clear who carried out either attack. In Kabul, locals heard two blasts, then gunfire. One doctor who fled during the assault, which began at about 10:00 local time (05:30 GMT), told the BBC about 180 people were in the hospital when the gunmen began their attack. Afghan special forces have rescued 100 women and children, including three foreigners, an official told the BBC. Read more here

12th May 2020

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