Daily Brief - Tuesday 9th June, 2020

NEWS

Parasram: Religious reopening guidelines available Tuesday

CMO Dr Roshan Parasram said guidelines for the reopening of religious institutions should be released on Tuesday. He said they had been developed in consultation with religious bodies. The Prime Minister announced on Sunday that all religious bodies would be able to reopen on Thursday with physical distancing and other public health measures in place. Parasram said the guidelines would be circulated through the Inter-Religious Organisation (IRO) and via social media. Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said 212 students were expected to return to TT, 85 from Barbados and 127 from Jamaica, and they would be quarantined at the halls at UWI, St Augustine. He said the TT Defence Force was carrying out minor refurbishments and repairs at the halls, in conjunction with his ministry, and they should be ready at the end of the week. Read more here

Cops arrest 68 in illegal San Juan gambling den

Close to 70 people, including alleged underworld figures, are now in police custody after they were held at a gambling den in San Juan just after 11 pm on Monday for contravening the Public Health Ordinance. Investigators told Guardian Media that a team of officers from the Special Operations Response Team (SORT) headed by Sgt Mark Hernandez, acting on information, went to a property upstairs the building, which also houses a Royal Castle outlet. The building is a stone’s throw away from the San Juan Police Substation and the upstairs section where the suspects were held once housed a nightclub. The officers found 61 men and seven women gathered gambling on the premises. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Deyalsingh: TT not virus-free

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh has said that TT is not virus-free and health protocols should be observed to prevent contracting the virus. Speaking at the Ministry of Health’s media briefing on Monday morning, he said other Caricom territories have seen a spike in cases to over 2,000 cases in a three-week period. He said while the economy has reopened, responsibility has been placed on individuals to observe the necessary protocols. “It has become even more crucial that the public continues to accept the baton that has been passed to them to engage themselves in a meaningful way to apply all the necessary public health measures,” Deyalsingh said. Read more here

PM still unhappy with cost of Curepe Interchange

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley says even improved and amended procurement legislation would not have helped the Government save over $200 million on the Curepe Interchange project, as even with such legislation there were ways for corrupt politicians to use more taxpayers’ money. “If what passed for competition then was allowed to prevail, you could simply have said that the job was tendered and the lowest bidder was $440 million and therefore you gave the contract to that bidder and not the one for $500 million and nobody in T&T would have had a problem with that,” Rowley said during the official opening of the interchange. “But somebody would have walked away with $200 million more than what was required. I am sure that the contractors involved in this project made a profit.” Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Heritage resumes crude oil exports

State-owned Heritage Petroleum Company Ltd has resumed export of its crude oil after previously opting to store its oil rather than sell it at record low prices. “We have resumed the exportation of crude and have attracted quite favourable interest and prices,” Heritage’s chairman Michael Quamina told Guardian Media yesterday. In April, following a precipitous fall in crude prices, Heritage decided it was better to store its oil instead of selling it at a loss. At that time oil futures crashed and crude was selling at US$13 a barrel, the lowest in more than two decades. Read more here

Relief as Phase 4 opens

“Happy.” So exclaimed San Juan hairdresser Joan Edwards, at Joan’s Beauty Salon at Second Street, yesterday. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Phase 2 of recount kicks in

THE completion of the recount and tabulation of votes cast at the General and Regional Elections now paves the way for the Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield to compile his reports on the electoral process for submission to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM). Those reports not only include a tabulation of the matrices for the recount of the 10 Electoral Districts, but also a summary of the Observation Reports for each District. Based on the Statements of Recount (SORs), which were generated and tabulated at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC), the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) has secured 233,336 votes, while the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU+AFC) raked in 217,920 votes. Read more here

One leader! - Bunting ally Golding rallies support around Phillips

There IS now no dispute over the leadership of the 81-year-old People’s National Party (PNP), declared Mark Golding, the St Andrew South member of parliament, who, along with 14 of his parliamentary colleagues, signed a letter recently demanding a meeting with Dr Peter Phillips to discuss the future of the party. Yesterday, Golding, a business partner and key backer of the failed leadership challenge mounted last year by Manchester Central MP Peter Bunting, emerged with a voice of unity from a meeting with Phillips and the hierarchy of the party at The Mico University College in Kingston. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

North Korea halts all communications with South in row over leafleting

North Korea has said it will cut off all inter-Korean communication lines with the South, including a hotline between the two nations' leaders. The North said this was the first in a series of actions, describing South Korea as "the enemy". Daily calls, which have been made to a liaison office located in the North Korean border city of Kaesong, will cease from Tuesday. The two states had set up the office to reduce tensions after talks in 2018. North and South Korea are technically still at war because no peace agreement was reached when the Korean War ended in 1953. North Korea "will completely cut off and shut down the liaison line between the authorities of the North and the South, which has been maintained through the North-South joint liaison office... from 12:00 on 9 June 2020," the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) report said. Read more here

This city disbanded its police department 7 years ago. Here's what happened next

Last week, Minneapolis officials confirmed they were considering a fairly rare course of action: disbanding the city police department. It's not the first locale to break up a department, but no cities as populous have ever attempted it. Minneapolis city council members haven't specified what or who will replace it if the department disbands. Camden, New Jersey, may be the closest thing to a case study they can get. The city, home to a population about 17% of Minneapolis' size, dissolved its police department in 2012 and replaced it with an entirely new one after corruption rendered the existing agency unfixable. Before its police reforms, Camden was routinely named one of the most violent cities in the US. Read more here 

9th June 2020

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