Daily Brief - Tuesday 21st July, 2020

NEWS

Physical distancing challenges at larger schools

Teachers and principals at primary schools across the country on Monday, have reported a smooth transition into classrooms after engaging standard five students in online classes since March. Students went back to school on Monday to prepare for the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) on August 20. President of the National Primary School Principal’s Association Lance Mottley said, however, that physical distancing proved to be more challenging in larger schools. “That was to be expected,” he said on Monday. “It’s the first day out. This is a new normal for children.” Read more here

CoP vows to close all high profile cases

Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith yesterday assured that the T&T Police Service was working to close all high profile cases before it, including probes into the Estate Management and Business Development Company Limited and Lifesport. He made the comment during a press conference at the Police Administration Building in Port-of-Spain, as he noted investigations have been ongoing for the last six years and he believed everyone has been aware of the actions of the TTPS. However, he said, “only if and when it can be brought forward, whether the case can be closed or arrests take place, will we make comments to the public.” Read more here

 

POLITICS

Fired minister finally speaks

An unsigned media statement posted on social media on Monday purportedly from former sports minister Darryl Smith queried an unfair dismissal claim by his former personal secretary Carrie-Ann Moreau and apologised to his family over the matter which led to his dismissal. Newsday tried but was unable to contact Smith by phone and WhatsApp. Adding to the Prime Minister’s recent statement that Smith’s dismissal was not due to sexual harassment but his interference in the Public Service process, the statement said the harassment accusation came from elements within the PNM but were “completely false, mischievous and nefarious.” Read more here

PM: Only PNM will continue ongoing fraud probes

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley says the only way investigations into ongoing fraud investigations at state entities will be concluded is if the United National Congress is kept out of government. He made the conclusion during a public meeting at the Signal Hill Secondary School on Sunday night as he highlighted two cases where the former government is being investigated of fraudulent activity. “You should know what happened to your money and who should be held accountable,” Rowley told supporters. “Do you expect them to work with the government and conclude these investigations based on what they did with the Piarco Airport enquiry? Do you think that these people and anybody else they serve want to conclude the investigations?” Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Economic worries

There continues to be a significant level of satisfaction with the Government’s Covid-19 phased reopening plan as nine in ten participants say they are either “very satisfied” or “satisfied”. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

High Court rules recount data ‘legit’

Chief Justice (ag), Roxane George-Wiltshire, said that the results of the General and Regional Elections must be declared based on the data generated during the National Recount, effectively ruling out the notion that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) can revert to the declarations made by the 10 Returning Officers in March. “As concluded, given the decisions of the Court of Appeal and the Caribbean Court of Justice, the recount cannot be considered to be invalidated, at least not at this point in time. In this context, the Section 84 (1) declarations can no longer be considered useful,” the Chief Justice said as she handed down her judgment virtually via a live broadcast on Youtube. Read more here

‘They’re Trying To Get Back At Me’ - PNP’s Victor Wright Accuses PM Of Reprisal Attack For Crying Scandal

Opposition Spokesman on Agriculture Victor Wright has defended the legitimacy of his occupancy of a government-owned house and has characterised Prime Minister Andrew Holness’ allegation that he has captured state lands as “a smear campaign”. Wright flatly rejected claims by Joseph Shoucair, managing director of Sugar Company of Jamaica (SCJ) Holdings, who said in a Nationwide interview that the lands, known as Fontabelle Estate in Westmoreland, leased by Wright in 2011, were being occupied in defiance of a notice to quit and that millions were owed in utility bills. Holness did not name Wright in his scathing rebuke at a meeting of his ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) but accused an opposition member of parliament of committing a raft of breaches. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

EU leaders strike 'historic' $2 trillion deal to rebuild Europe's economy

After almost five days of fraught discussions, European leaders have agreed to create a €750 billion ($858 billion) recovery fund to rebuild EU economies ravaged by the coronavirus crisis. The European Commission will borrow the money on financial markets and distribute just under half of it — €390 billion euros ($446 billion) — as grants to the hardest hit EU states, with the rest provided as loans. Leaders also agreed a new EU budget of nearly €1.1 trillion ($1.3 trillion) for 2021-2027, creating combined spending power of about €1.8 trillion ($2 trillion). "It is an ambitious and comprehensive package combining the classical [budget] with an extraordinary recovery effort destined to tackle the effects of an unprecedented crisis in the best interest of the EU," the EU leaders said in a joint declaration. Read more here

Ukraine gunman holds 20 hostages on bus

An armed man has taken about 20 people hostage on a bus in the western Ukrainian city of Lutsk, officials say. Shots have been fired, police said, but there have been no reports of casualties so far. The man's demands are not clear. Deputy Interior Minister Anton Herashchenko said the man claimed to have a bomb. "The police launched a special hostage operation. Negotiations are under way," Mr Herashchenko said on Facebook. Counter-terrorism officers have surrounded. Read more here

21st July 2020

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