Daily Brief - Wednesday 13th May, 2020

NEWS

OWTU: No evidence of V’zuela fuel scandal

Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU) president general Ancel Roget said there is no evidence to support allegations by the Opposition UNC that Paria Fuel Trading Company sold fuel to Venezuela. Roget rejected claims by the Opposition Leader that the UNC would reopen Petrotrin if it were re-elected. Roget remained confident that Patriotic Energies and Technologies would be successful in its acquisition of Petrotrin’s Pointe-a-Pierre refinery, with a restart within ten months to a year. He made all those comments at a news conference at the union’s Paramount Building office in San Fernando on Tuesday. Read more here

JW wants to give his best for Barataria/San Juan

Radio host Jason “JW” Williams is hoping to put his best foot forward as the PNM (People’s National Movement) candidate for Barataria/San Juan. Yesterday, a media report said that JW was given the nod of the PNM’s screening committee to contest the hot marginal seat. Speaking with Guardian Media the 41-year-old said he has not yet been officially selected, but said he is hopeful and would be putting his best foot forward. Read more here

 

POLITICS

PM: Unions essential

The Prime Minister on Tuesday instructed that “all labour activities” should be designated an essential service under the covid19 public health regulations. A tweet from the Office of the Prime Minister said Dr Rowley gave this instruction “with the cautious reopening of commercial activity and in anticipation of increased working business activity in the coming days.” The OPM said the regulations will come into effect immediately, on the publication of the relevant regulations on Tuesday. Labour activities were previously not listed as an essential service under the regulations. Read more here

US: T&T violated Rio Treaty with Venezuelan VP visit

The United States Embassy has said that Government violated the 73-year-old Rio Treaty when Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez landed in the country. “Delcy Rodriguez is subject to travel sanctions that are binding on all Rio Treaty parties, and Trinidad and Tobago is a party to the treaty,” the Embassy said. The Rio Treaty, otherwise known as the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance, is an agreement between countries in the Western Hemisphere as part of a mutual defence system. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Help for small, medium enterprises

Finance Minister Colm Imbert has said the Government will be providing further support to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) through a $300m loan programme. This is part of Government’s relief programme to offset the negative impact of COVID-19 and the entire programme is expected to cost the country $6 billion. The SME assistance has come on the heels of concerns from the business community that SMEs were not receiving adequate financial support from the Government while public health restrictions remain in place. Imbert who was speaking at a press conference hosted by the Ministry of Health explained that Government will subsidise all the interest and part of the collateral as well on these loans. Read more here

Sagicor launches Health Care Heroes plan

Frontline Covid-19 medical workers in Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Belize, Aruba, Panama and the Eastern Caribbean can now benefit from health and life insurance. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

310 boxes counted in first week

A total of 310 ballot boxes were processed in the first week of the National Recount from a total of 2,339, according to statistics provided by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM)’s Public Relations Officer, Yolanda Ward. According to those ‘stats’, the lowest number of ballot boxes (25) was counted on the first day of the recount (May 6), while the highest number, 54, was recorded on Day Six, May 11. On Tuesday (Day Seven), a total of 48 ballot boxes was counted at the 10 workstations established within the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC), where the recount is being executed for a period of 25 days. Of that number, 12 of the boxes were from Region One (Barima-Waini); nine (9) from Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam); 12 from Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara); and 15 from Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica). Read more here

Air tragedy - ‘Mark was like my son,’ says local instructor, as Jamaican student pilot dies in Florida crash

Student Pilot Mark Daniel Scott’s death has been described as a major loss for young aspiring Jamaican aviators. The 25-year-old Wolmer’s Boys alumnus died in a plane crash in south Florida Tuesday morning after the Piper PA-34 aircraft he was flying developed mechanical problems, crashing near the southside of Pembroke Road in Florida. His instructor, who was with him, is still hospitalised with ­serious injuries. The aircraft was operated by the Wayman Aviation flight school. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

We will have summer tourist season, promises EU

The European Union's executive Commission has proposed a gradual lifting of borders in an attempt to kick-start a tourist industry hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. "Our message is we will have a tourist season this summer," said economic affairs commissioner Paolo Gentiloni, "even if it's with security measures and limitations." Borders closed across the EU, including the border-free Schengen zone. But states are starting to reopen them. Read more here

Putin's coronavirus crisis deepens with fatal hospital fire and spokesman's diagnosis

A fire in a hospital treating coronavirus victims claimed the lives of five patients and forced the evacuation of 150 people in the Russian city of St. Petersburg on Tuesday, further testing the Russian government's response to the Covid-19 pandemic amid a growing crisis that has reached the Kremlin's inner circle. The St. Petersburg fire broke out on the sixth floor of an intensive care unit at the St. George Hospital, killing five coronavirus patients connected to ventilating equipment, the TASS news agency reported, citing medical personnel. According to initial findings, the fire may have been caused by a short circuit in a ventilator or its malfunction, state news agencies said. The Investigative Committee, Russia's top law enforcement body, said a criminal investigation had been opened into the matter. Read more here

13th May 2020

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