Daily Brief - Wednesday 17th March, 2021

TTMA IN THE NEWS

Gopee-Scoon: Consumers must reduce plastic waste

Plastics make up 19 per cent of all landfill waste and eight of ten items collected on beaches in TT. On World Consumer Rights Day, celebrated on Monday, Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon reminded consumers to be responsible for making purchases that contribute to plastic waste. In a statement, Gopee-Scoon said the fight toward sustainability is, at its foundation, an individual effort. “Hence, it requires each of us to make a more conscious effort in being a sustainable consumer to minimise waste in our daily routines. Responsible individuals create responsible families, responsible families create sustainable communities, and sustainable communities create a sustainable nation.” Read more here

 

NEWS

CoP hits back at critics after restaurant shooting

Police Commissioner Gary Griffith took to social media to respond to critics in the wake of a shooting at Jenny's on the Boulevard, Port of Spain on Tuesday. On his Facebook page, Griffith posted a screenshot of a news report of the shooting at the restaurant and remarked that critics of the police should either apologise for their attacks or leave "policing to the police." He commented, "It would be very interesting to see if the same people, who had no issue with the police going into bars with their 'big guns,' but who had a problem when same was done at a 'fine dining' establishment, would still want the police to go to these establishments armed with 'macaroni pie', as I stated yesterday. Read more here

Audit: One WASA worker earned $.5m in overtime

“A scandal of the highest order.” This is how Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales yesterday described the payment of over $1.1 million in overtime to six officials of the Public Services Association (PSA) employed at the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) during a three-year period. One of the PSA officials alone received over half a million dollars of this figure. Outraged over the wanton spending, financial irregularities, mismanagement and corrupt activities at the cash-strapped authority in the past, the angry minister has promised to make the perpetrators accountable. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Decision to close Macqueripe not sudden, says planning minister

The decision to close the gates to Macqueripe Beach for renovations was not sudden, said Planning Minister Camille Robinson-Regis, while answering questions in the Senate on Tuesday. Robinson-Regis said the Chaguaramas Development Authority (CDA) had a “comprehensive repair programme” for the beach, which included repairs to the infrastructure. She said work has already begun on the renovations. “There has been a significant amount of erosion and degradation and destruction of the safety features on Macqueripe Beach. Read more here

Rowley, China President in COVID vaccine talks

China is stepping in to assist Trinidad and Tobago’s access to COVID-19 vaccines. The China-made vaccine manufactured by Sinopharm is currently awaiting the World Health Organisation (WHO) approval but access to it was discussed during a virtual meeting between Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and China President Xi Jinpeng yesterday. Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Amery Browne was also present at the meeting and said the discussion was very productive. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Easier transactions ahead

In the past three weeks, technological options on offer increased by three for consumers—two banks are expanding their fintech portfolios to their customers and one start-up is offering prescription drugs through an app. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

$13.9B injection into housing sector, over 8,000 families to benefit

In what is being described as one of the largest investments in the housing sector in one year, the government has injected some $13.9 billion into the development of new infrastructure, and the construction of houses, a project that will benefit over 8,000 families. Having already distributed over 3,800 house lots in a little over six months, the government, through this initiative, will be looking to further strengthen its foundation in the housing sector, by ensuring that the requisite infrastructure and even housing facilities are in place to facilitate adequate and comfortable accommodation. Read more here

Billion-dollar gains profiteering off the backs of poor, says Golding

Picking apart one of the central highlights of Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke’s Budget presentation, Opposition Leader Mark Golding cast a Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) dividend of $33 billion as the fruit of an effective tax that has oppressed the poor. The dividend is being paid out of the profits made by the BOJ in 2018, 2019, and 2020. The $33 billion is expected to be paid over to the Government in the first week of April and will be used to help fund the $60-billion Social and Economic Recovery and Vaccine Programme for Jamaica. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

New US intel report shows Russia, Trump and GOP acolytes have same goals

new US intelligence report that finds Russia interfered in the 2020 election to help Donald Trump and hurt Joe Biden also underscores a fundamental truth: The gravest threat to US democracy comes from within. The report, released by Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, finds that Moscow sought to inject misleading information about Biden into the campaign through officials and others close to Trump. The real bombshell it contains is not the confidence of the spy agencies that Russia hoped to subvert American democracy. It is that US intelligence experts effectively confirmed that for the second election in a row, Trump acolytes repeatedly used, knowingly or otherwise, misinformation produced by the spies of one of America's most sworn foreign adversaries to try to win a US election. Read more here

Brazil health service in 'worst crisis in its history'

Brazil is experiencing a historic collapse of its health service as intensive care units in hospitals run out of capacity, its leading health institute, Fiocruz, has warned. Covid-19 units in all but two of Brazil's 27 states are at or above 80% capacity, according to Fiocruz. In Rio Grande do Sul state there are no intensive care beds available at all. The warning came as the country registered its highest daily death toll yet with 2,841 dying within 24 hours. That figure constitutes a large jump from the previous high of 2,286 on 10 March. Read more here

 

17th March 2021

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