Daily Brief - Tuesday 17th November, 2020


Hall of Justice sanitised after possible covid19 case

No one will be allowed into the Hall of Justice in Port of Spain until the building has been sanitised. In a statement on Sunday, the Judiciary said the Hall of Justice, on Knox Street, had to be vacated as health officials investigate a staff member’s covid19 status. While the statement said the case had not been confirmed, Newsday understands the staff member’s results came back positive and emergency meetings were held with other staff on Friday and again on Sunday as contact tracing is being done to determine the level of exposure. Read more here

bpTT retrenches first batch of workers

BPTT yesterday retrenched more than 40 workers in what is expected to an exercise in which close to 100 employees will be let go from the company this week. Guardian Media has learnt that the first set of workers to get their pink slips were those involved in the production of the company’s gas and condensate and today, another set of workers will be sent home as part of bpTT’s restructuring plans. The company insisted yesterday that it is doing its cuts in the most dignified way possible and offering assistance to those impacted by the retrenchment and restructuring. Read more here



UNC MPs show early support for Kamla

Incumbent UNC political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar so far has the support of at least six of the 18 UNC MPs who sit with her in the House of Representatives, to retain her post in the party's internal election on December 6. Persad-Bissessar and former minister Vasant Bharath were confirmed as the only two contenders for the UNC leadership when nominations were filed on Sunday. Read more here

THA Finance Secretary projects economic growth in 2021

Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Finance Secretary Joel Jack said despite the effects of COVID-19 and a reduced allocation from the Central Government of $148.63 million for fiscal 2021, Tobago’s economy is on a path for growth. He was speaking at the THA’s 41st Plenary Sitting for the 2017-2021 term yesterday. Jack said Tobago was allocated $2.6 billion, 4.3 per cent of the national budget and 54.4 per cent, less than in fiscal 2020. Read more here



House prices too high for PoS influx

Property valuer Afra Raymond said yesterday’s “Spotlight on Urban Development” did not address several questions, including who is really being invited back into Port of Spain, and on what terms? Read more here



$516M to be injected into maritime academy

Guyanese-owned Oilfield Services Company TOTALTEC will be injecting US$2.4 million (over G$516 million) into its International Petroleum and Maritime Academy (IPMA) to improve its capacity, amidst Guyana’s growing oil-and-gas sector. Read more here

Dog-Attack Law Expected To Be Passed Today; 5-Y-O Victim Needs Plastic Surgery

The blurred yet graphic photograph of five-year-old Mickele Allen, his hands and feet lacerated and scalp blood-red from a ferocious attack by a pack of hounds, will embolden Justice Minister Delroy Chuck to press through passage of the new dog-bite law in Parliament this afternoon, the culmination of a fight to hold negligent owners criminally responsible. Deliberations on the Dogs (Liability for Attacks) Bill will resume at the committee stage before passage by lawmakers in the House of Representatives. Read more here



Trump's transition sabotage threatens vaccine rollout

President Donald Trump's refusal to coordinate with President-elect Joe Biden on the critical Covid-19 vaccine is bringing a staggering possibility into clearer view: that an outgoing US commander in chief is actively working to sabotage his successor. Trump's denial of his election defeat, his lies about nonexistent mass coordinated voter fraud and his strangling of the rituals of transferring power between administrations are not just democracy-damaging aberrations. Read more here

Hurricane Iota: Category four storm hits Nicaragua

Hurricane Iota has made landfall in Nicaragua two weeks after another devastating storm hit. The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said the storm crossed the coast on Monday evening. It had strengthened at sea to a category five storm before making landfall, with maximum sustained winds of up to 160mph (260km/h). As it struck Nicaragua it weakened to a category four, but the NHC said it remains "extremely dangerous". The agency warned of "catastrophic winds, [a] life-threatening storm surge, and torrential rainfall" in its latest update. "What's drawing closer is a bomb," President Juan Orlando Hernández of neighbouring Honduras said at an earlier press conference. Read more here

17th November 2020


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