Daily Brief - Tuesday 21st December, 2021

NEWS

Children’s Authority: Look out for children all year, not just Xmas

With Christmas day around the corner, the Children’s Authority has expressed its gratitude to the public and corporate Trinidad and Tobago for stepping up to support children in homes and foster care throughout the country. However, they are pleading with the national community to look out for the children in their communities throughout the year and not just at Christmas time. In a phone interview with Newsday on Friday, team lead of the foster care unit Anjuli Tewarie de Fague and ag deputy director of legal and regulatory services Elizabeth Lewis both highlighted the need for communities to be more active in caring for children. Read more here

Boosters key to fight omicron, a lot still to learn

The new omicron variant took only a few weeks to live up to dire predictions about how hugely contagious it is but scientists don’t yet know if it causes more severe disease even as the world faces exploding cases just before Christmas. “Everything is riskier now because omicron is so much more contagious,” said Dr. S. Wesley Long, who directs the testing lab at Houston Methodist Hospital — and over the past week has cancelled numerous plans to avoid exposure. Omicron now is the dominant variant in the U.S., federal health officials said Monday, accounting for about three-quarters of new infections last week. The speed that it’s outpacing the also very contagious delta variant is astonishing public health officials. In three weeks, omicron now makes up 80% of new symptomatic cases diagnosed by Houston Methodist’s testing sites. It took the delta variant three months to reach that level, Long said. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Tobago ACP backs PM: Don't cop out, get vaccinated

Tobago ACP William Nurse is hopeful the Prime Minister's announcement that only vaccinated public sector employees will be paid in January will encourage his officers to take the covid19 vaccine. Nurse said vaccine hesitancy is high in the service. On Saturday, during a press conference at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s, Dr Rowley said national security had the lowest vaccination rates – 49 per cent in the police service. In the past two months, Nurse, on three occasions, raised concerns as the country's vaccine uptake slowed considerably. In October, Nurse called on officers to take the vaccine considering their risk of exposure and the limited resources to contain crime and criminal activity on the island. Read more here

National security sector leaders meet with Ministry on vaccination plan

The leaders of T&T’s various security sectors - Police, Defence Force, Fire & Prisons - are expected to meet today with National Security officials on Government’s call to have public sector workers vaccinated by mid-January or be furloughed. This was confirmed yesterday by National Security officials. The top brass helming security agencies are expected to meet with National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds and other officials. That meeting is expected to update leaders on the plan and other discussions including the respective sectors’ status. But there was no response from Government yesterday to Guardian Media’s queries as further calls against mandatory vaccination in state sectors arose. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Rock Hard not returning to T&T market

Embattled cement importer, Rock Hard Distributors Ltd, has no intention of returning to the domestic market, despite a statement by Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee Scoon that four companies could soon import cement, bringing competition to the market to offset the 15 per cent price hike recently announced by Trinidad Cement Ltd (TCL). The price increase took effect yesterday, and in a message to its “valued clients” last week, TCL said: “We have been absorbing rising input costs for a long time and are now unable to continue to maintain our prices.” The cement company did not specify the quantum of increased costs or their contribution to the 15 per cent price increase. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

‘Reservoir for job creation’ established

IN addition to thousands of houselots, the opening of the Mocha to Diamond interlink road has created a “reservoir for job creation” along the East Bank of Demerara corridor, said President Dr Irfaan Ali, as he commissioned the new route at the crack of dawn on Monday. “We will have more than three or 400 acres of land developed specifically for industrial development and then we have commercial development,” Dr Ali said. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

How children were used in a 48-hour deadly rampage for gold

The men were shot as they slept outside, having spent their days underground, choking in the Sahel dust, digging and panning for gold. They were killed by children -- some apparently as young as 12 -- and men who had arrived on dozens of motorbikes and were egged on in their murderous spree by women who knew the village well, according to witnesses. The local militia had left. The army came to the rescue for a matter of hours in the morning but then left before dusk, letting the attackers return the following night to burn the village down and most likely steal what gold it had. Read more here

 

21st December 2021

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