Daily Brief - Wednesday 17th June, 2020


Met Office: Yellow alert over tropical wave

The Meteorological Service has announced a national state of yellow alert for two days, due to the arrival of tropical waves. The statement said the alert will last from 5 am on Wednesday till 4 pm on Thursday. “There is a 70 per cent chance of heavy rain and thunderstorm activity associated with the interaction between a tropical wave and Intertropical Convergence Zone. Street flooding can be expected from heavy downpours and gusting winds of over 60 km/h. The seas can be agitated with electrical storms,” it said. Read more here

T&T students in Cuba beg to return as supplies run out

Days after T&T students from Barbados and Jamaica were repatriated, T&T medical students who are currently in Cuba are also seeking repatriation as they say life has become “unbearably tough” for them. The students say they have run out of personal hygiene products such as soap, toothpaste and sanitary napkins. Guardian Media has been informed that there are 21 students, 19 of whom are on scholarship in Cuba. For fear of victimisation, one of the students spoke under strict anonymity explaining how terrible the living conditions have become in Cuba adding that it’s their main reason for pushing to be repatriated until mid-August where they are carded to begin preparation for the next semester of their respective medical studies. Of the batch of students, 99 per cent are studying to become medical doctors while one other student in pursuing other studies along the same medical field. The student explained that when classes were suspended in March and the plan was suggested that we do “distance learning” it was already after T&T’s borders were closed. Read more here



Beckles: Listen to the young

Pennelope Beckles-Robinson said TT must embrace its youngsters and its diaspora, she told Newsday on Tuesday when asked how her current job as TT’s UN envoy had influenced her thinking towards TT. The PNM last Saturday chose her as prospective candidate for Arima. Beckles-Robinson saw TT’s 300,000-strong diaspora as “large and important.” Saying you can meet a TT national in New York nearly daily, she recalled, “I met a young girl at the supermarket who shouted, ‘Hello Aunty Penny!’ Read more here

Religious bodies seek 2nd tranche of COVID relief

Several religious bodies have already approached the Government for the second tranche of funds to provide support to needy families and migrants hit hard by the COVID-19 restrictions, Minister of Social Development and Family Services Camille Robinson-Regis said yesterday. Robinson-Regis also said the ministry has not had any issues with the religious organisations distributing taxpayer funds, noting they were all holding true to the values that they teach. “It has been going well and all, if not most, of the religious bodies or umbrella bodies have been funded for this month and they have started bringing in their returns so that we can give them the second tranche,” Robinson-Regis said after turning the sod ceremony for a community pool in Maloney. Read more here



Aviation executive: Regional airlines cannot remain grounded for much longer

As he issued an urgent call to governments in Latin America and the Caribbean to help the aviation sector, the Vice President of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), argued that regional citizens must learn to live with the novel coronavirus. In a regional conference call Peter Cerdá said: “While we understand the measures that governments have taken to protect their citizens during this public health crisis, we need to learn to live with COVID-19. We will need to co-exist with the virus until a vaccine is made available.” During the conference call, Cerdá called on the governments in the region to provide the requested financial support to the airlines —now.  He said: “The word ‘now’ is so urgent.” According to Cerdá, the industry is operating on life support, but it cannot go on in the same manner for much longer. Read more here

Foreign used car sales plummet

The COVID-19 lockdown has compounded ongoing problems facing registered foreign used vehicle dealers in T&T and they are facing a very bleak period right now, says president of the T&T Automotive Dealers Association, Visham Babwah. Read more here



What SOE success? - Bunting slams PM for failure to rein in murders

Former National Security Minister Peter Bunting has blasted the Holness administration over what he says is a failure to curb murder amid multibillion-dollar spending and coronavirus restrictions. Bunting’s scolding of the Government and the national security hierarchy comes days after Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson and army chief Lieutenant General Rocky Meade told the country that states of emergency (SOEs) were successful. But armed with latest crime statistics published by the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), Bunting sought to tore down that argument. “The policy has been a colossal failure. After three successive years of extensive use of states of emergency and the consequent huge diversion of resources away from ZOSOs, among other things, the annual number of murders has been higher in each of these years of the state of emergency than any single year between 2011 and 2015, when there was no state of emergency. Read more here

CARICOM team urges end to GECOM’s partisan structure

In its report on the national recount, the CARICOM Scrutinising Team used the opportunity to urge that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) immediately pursue reforms which will no longer make it “a creature of political parties”. The CARICOM report, submitted on Monday, was highly critical of many of the actions of the commission which the team believes could have been avoided, had the electoral body been truly independent. “What is obvious is that the structural independence of GECOM from the machinery of government is not equated with its impartiality. Indeed, from its beginning, given the intrinsic political distrust and ethnic polarisation in the country, GECOM was never conceptualised as an institution which would exemplify autonomy from partisan political influences. While this model of balanced partisan representation – not unique in the Commonwealth Caribbean – in which the two dominant parties have equal representation and input was born out of a particular historical conjecture, it has served its initial purpose,” the report stated. Read more here



S Korea unification minister offers to resign over tensions with North

The South Korean unification minister has offered his resignation over the sharp rise in tensions with the North. Kim Yeon-chul said he took responsibility for the worsening of inter-Korean relations. It comes a day after North Korea blew up a symbolic liaison office near the border which was built to improve ties with the South. The North Korean army meanwhile has said it will send troops into disarmed areas along the border. Earlier on Wednesday, Pyongyang explained why it blew up the office in Kaesong. A state media article accused the South of breaking 2018 agreements and behaving like a "mongrel dog" - while the sister of Kim Jong-un accused the South's president of being a US "flunkey". While the South says it remains open for talks, it has condemned the North's actions as senseless and damaging. Tensions have sharply escalated in recent weeks - partly prompted by defectors in the South sending propaganda over the border. Read more here

Pressure grows on India's Modi after deadly skirmish with China over Himalayan border

They fought with fists, stones, and bamboo poles with nails in them, in a bloody brawl that left around two dozen people dead. More details are emerging about a clash late Monday night along a disputed border between India and China high in the Himalayas, which has ratcheted up tension between the two nuclear-armed neighbors and left officials on both sides scrambling to deescalate. Pressure is growing on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to respond to the incident, in which at least 20 Indian soldiers died and many more were injured, according to a statement from the army. China also suffered casualties, the Indian army said, though neither side has released any figures. Read more here



17th June 2020


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