Daily Brief - Tuesday 30th June, 2020


Illicit trade in T&T alcohol industry

“Illicit trade continues to deprive local businesses of sales, and every sale counts to keep law abiding people employed and shops open. Illegal sales of alcohol also deprive the country of state funds that support our schools, hospitals, pensions, roads and jobs. Products sold illegally are not checked or regulated are a serious health risks to consumers. Illicit trade affects all consumer goods and products such as clothes, makeup, alcohol, cigarettes, pharmaceuticals, fashion jewelry, food etc. This requires a collaborative effort with public and private sectors addressing the issue with key law enforcement authorities to develop methods to deal with the scourge of illicit trade.” Read more here



Lawyers to Griffith: Suspend cops involved in police killing

Law Firm CJ Williams and Co, in a letter sent to the Commissioner of Police, Gary Griffith, demanded the immediate suspension of the police officers involved in the shooting death of Israel Clinton and Noel Diamond, two of the three men who were killed by police in an alleged shootout on Saturday. Williams also called for the Commissioner to take a personal hand in the investigation into the three killings, and an immediate review of the use-of-force policy used by police. “The issue we pose is of great public concern. It was widely circulated in the daily newspaper and on social media that officers killed three in or around Second Caledonia, Morvant on the 27 June 2020.” “Forgive my curt tone but our clients were killed on the “police exercise” we term to be an extra-legal arbitrary and/or summary execution,” Williams said in the letter. Read more here

86 per cent rise in police killings

The number of people killed by police in the last year has risen by 86 per cent, a figure that is of concern to the Police Complaints Authority (PCA). For this year, 43 people have already been killed by the police, the majority being Afro-Trinidadians. Trends show the killings have occurred primarily in the North Eastern Division and stemmed from 32 shooting incidents between January to June. There have been multiple killings arising out of single incidents, such as the one which occurred on Friday involving Joel Jacob, Israel Clinton and Noel Diamond, all of whom were shot dead by officers of the Inter-Agency Task Force and the Guard and Emergency Branch. Read more here



West: US/TT tax info sharing not affected by Delcy visit

The Tax  information sharing between the US and TT has not been affected by the visit to this country by Venezuelan vice president Delcy Rodriguez, said Minister in the Ministry of Finance Allyson West. She was responding to a question in the Senate Monday from Opposition Senator Wade Mark who asked whether the formal relationship with the US Department of the Treasury pursuant to the Tax Information Exchange Agreements (United States of America) Act 2017 has been adversely affected by the Government engagement with Rodriguez. Read more here

Despite Deyalsingh's promises, nurses will march 

Although Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh has promised to pay nurses their outstanding increments, the Trinidad and Tobago Registered Nurses Association (TTRNA) says it will go ahead with Wednesday’s mass protest. In an interview with Guardian Media on Monday, TTRNA president Idi Stuart was hesitant to reveal exactly what increments would be paid or the timeline for payment, saying the association wants to wait until Wednesday to reveal that information to its membership. But Stuart also said that while ‘certain’ promises were made, the TTRNA has not received anything in writing from the Ministry. Read more here



Central Bank to maintain repo at 3.5%

The Central Bank has decided that it will maintain the repo rate at 3.5 per cent noting that there is excess reserves reaching over $10 billion in mid-June 2020. The bank said there is little indication there has yet been a significant pickup in private sector credit as businesses await a recovery in demand. At its mid-March 2020 meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) the bank said based on historical experience, the impact of the monetary policy actions will take several months to fully filter into interest rates and credit. The bank noted that economic activity in T&T is gradually resuming, following several months of the COVID-19 lockdown. Read more here

BP sells Atlas methanol stake

BP announced yesterday that it has agreed to sell its 36.9 per cent stake in the Atlas Methanol plant on the Point Lisas Industrial Estate, as part of a larger divestment of its petrochemicals business throughout the world for US$5 billion. Read more here



New Hurdle For Visitors From High-Risk COVID US States

Visitors from the high-risk American states of Florida, New York, Arizona, and Texas are now required to pretest for the new coronavirus before travelling to Jamaica, says Prime Minister Andrew Holness. Combined, the four states have recorded more than 755,000, or almost 30 per cent of, COVID-19 cases in the United States and are among Jamaica’s most important source markets. Other states may be added to list, the prime minister hinted. The precautionary move coincides with the European Union’s mulling over whether to ban travel by Americans to its states and is a policy U-turn on the Holness administration’s initial resistance to calls by local medical professionals to impose pretesting protocols. Read more here

I’m very confident’

Guyana President David Granger on Monday declined to criticise his Caribbean Community (CARICOM) colleagues over the disputed March 2 regional and general elections in his country, saying that “it’s premature for anybody to make a declaration. “Nobody has won, nobody has lost; I will not criticise Prime Minister [Mia] Mottley,” Granger told the Caribbean News Agency (CMC), referring to the Barbados’s Prime Minister, who is also chairperson of the 15-member regional integration grouping. “I know the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Dr. [Keith] Rowley, the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines [Dr. Ralph Gonsalves] made statements. We’re colleagues, we’re friends; they were here [in Georgetown] and they have the best interest of Guyana.” Read more here



From pandering to Putin to abusing allies and ignoring his own advisers, Trump's phone calls alarm US officials

In hundreds of highly classified phone calls with foreign heads of state, President Donald Trump was so consistently unprepared for discussion of serious issues, so often outplayed in his conversations with powerful leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Erdogan, and so abusive to leaders of America's principal allies, that the calls helped convince some senior US officials -- including his former secretaries of state and defense, two national security advisers and his longest-serving chief of staff -- that the President himself posed a danger to the national security of the United States, according to White House and intelligence officials intimately familiar with the contents of the conversations. Read more here

Hong Kong security law: Anger as China's Xi signs legislation

The UK, EU and Nato have expressed concern and anger after China passed a controversial security law giving it new powers over Hong Kong. President Xi Jinping signed the law and it is being placed in Hong Kong's mini-constitution, criminalising sedition and effectively curtailing protests. Hong Kong's leader, Carrie Lam, defended the law, saying it filled a "gaping hole" in national security. One key pro-democracy group said it was now ceasing all operations. Demosisto announced the move on Facebook after Joshua Wong, one of Hong Kong's most prominent activists, said he was leaving the group, which he had spearheaded. Read more here

30th June 2020


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