Daily Brief - Tuesday 23rd February, 2021

NEWS

CMO: Beware of fake vaccines

The Prime Minister warned the public against “charlatans” who purport to be distributors of covid19 vaccines. He issued the warning at the Ministry of Health’s press conference held virtually on Monday. Dr Rowley said there were people reaching out to government to “assist” with procuring the vaccine and quoting prices of US$19-$25 a dose. “I know of one incident where a local agent of one of the major manufacturers of this vaccine has advanced himself as an agent of the company and sought to get contracts here in TT to supply that vaccine. The local agencies would have met with the foreign superior only to be told call the police and that person is no part of our business and therefore is a fraudster,” Rowley said. Read more here

High Commissioner: No arrangement with India for vaccines

There is no agreement yet between T&T and India for either the purchase or donation of Oxford-AstraZeneca Covishield vaccines. This was confirmed yesterday by Indian High Commissioner Arun Kumar Sahu who said this country’s order of 250,000 vaccines from the Serum Institute in India has not been finalised. Guardian Media contacted the High Commissioner last week about the status of this country’s order of Indian-made vaccines. In a response yesterday, the High Commissioner’s office said it is willing to help expedite the order but only after T&T “places an order with the Serum Institute directly and reaches a commercial agreement.” Read more here

 

POLITICS

Duke: PDP assemblymen will meet with PM

Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) leader Watson Duke said the party's six assemblymen will attend a March 3 meeting called by the Prime Minister. The meeting was announced in a statement by the Office of the Prime Minister on Sunday, noting Dr Rowley's intention to meet the 12 recently-elected assemblymen. Duke was speaking at a press conference on Monday at the Public Services Association (PSA) headquarters on Abercromby Street, Port of Spain. During the press conference, which was streamed live, Duke received a phone call from Minister of Finance Colm Imbert. After initially having the minister on loudspeaker, Duke spoke to Imbert privately after he requested confidentiality. Read more here

COVID high on agenda of Caricom Intersessional

T&T yesterday expressed solidarity with various countries in the region that are dealing with huge spikes in COVID-19 infections and related hospitalisations. This was confirmed by Foreign and Caricom Affairs Minister Amery Browne who spoke briefly as a sub-committee of regional representatives met to discuss Caricom’s Single Market and Economy (CSME). The meeting was a curtain-raiser for Caricom’s 32nd Intersessional meeting which takes place tomorrow and Thursday where the CSME will be among topics for discussion. Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley is the current Caricom chairman. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Forex crisis: Republic cuts US credit card limits

Effective March 23, Republic Bank Ltd will reduce its US dollar spending limit per billing cycle on all Republic Bank credit cards. The bank announced the change will see a reduction in its customers spending limit on credit cards from US$12,000 to US$10,000. In a release, the bank said it noted the impact the change may have on clients’ day-to-day operations, but said this was necessary to manage its forex portfolio. Read more here

Expect food price hike, says supermarkets head

Food prices in Trinidad and Tobago will go up again. President of the Supermarkets Association Rajiv Diptee said due to higher import costs, rising feed prices will impact the cost of livestock to consumers. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

JAMCOVID under more scrutiny as second data breach flagged

There is more scrutiny on the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) over whether officials there had flagged problems with the JAMCOVID application months ago and well before last week’s shocking discovery that thousands of travellers’ person data was...Read more here

Over $844M budgeted for improved water supply nationwide

In responding to claims from Opposition Parliamentarians that the government has no vision for development, Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water, Susan Rodrigues, affirmed that Guyanese could expect greater access to water, as the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) administration has set aside over $844 million to increase the supply of this necessity nationwide. The government plans to increase treated water coverage, reduce non-revenue water and modernise sanitation facilities across the country. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

What the Supreme Court ruling means for Manhattan DA's Trump criminal investigation

After 17 months and two trips to the US Supreme Court, the Manhattan district attorney's criminal investigation into former President Donald Trump's business has received a significant boost with investigators now able to pour over Trump's tax returns and financial records. The district attorney's office, led by Cyrus Vance, is expected to have access to the records within the next few days, according to people familiar with the matter. Read more here

North Korea man wandered for hours in DMZ amid South's security blunders

South Korean troops failed to notice a North Korean man who crossed the heavily fortified border this month even though he appeared on TV cameras eight times and triggered alarms. South Korea's army said it would take this moment to make necessary changes. The man swam in from the sea in a wet suit, walked 5km and spent three hours undetected before troops finally took action on his ninth TV appearance. It is unclear why he made the crossing via such a dangerous route. At one point the man passed through a drainage tunnel in the demilitarised zone (DMZ) the South Korean military did not even know existed, the Yonhap news agency reported. Read more here

23rd February 2021

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