Daily Brief - Wednesday 29th September, 2021


Unions not supporting Covid ‘safe zones’

The Trade Union Federations are against expanding a “safe zone” for vaccinated people in the absence of a clear framework by the Government. On Monday trade union groups JTUM, Natuc and FITUN met with Planning Minister Camille Robinson-Regis, other Government ministers and several business groups. The unions claimed yesterday that the meeting started contrary to the stated objective in the invitation as a great part of the meeting focused on safe zones. Read more here

Joint Chambers calls for workplace vaccination policy to be finalised

The draft workplace COVID vaccination policy needs to be “finalised, circulated, and tabled for implementation” as a matter of urgency, the Joint Chambers said yesterday as it joined the call by the Trade Unions Federations to have this done. The Joint Chambers comprises the American Chamber of Commerce TT (Amcham T&T), the Energy Chamber of T&T, the T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the T&T Coalition of Service Industries, and the T&T Manufacturers Association made the call in a statement issued yesterday. The Joint Chambers yesterday expressed its support, in principle, for the draft workplace COVID vaccination policies that had been developed by the Industrial Relations Advisory Committee, which were presented to the meeting by the Ministry of Labour. Read more here



NFM: No increase in flour prices

National Flour Mills has not increased the prices of flour to any of its wholesale or retail customers. The statement comes as the Kiss Baking Company raised prices on some of its breads on Monday. NFM CEO Ian Mitchell said while the state-owned company’s raw material costs have increased, it had not raised the prices for flour. “As a manufacturer, I can tell you that all of our raw material input costs have gone up, so they are as a manufacturer, I suspect, they are suffering from the same costs as us.  Read more here

Local distributors: Global problems to blame for increase in food prices 

The global cost of shipping and freight, and increased demands as countries come out of pandemic lockdowns, are the main factors driving the increase in food prices seen in local supermarkets over the last few months, president of the Food Distributors Association, Michael Seheult says. Speaking on CNC3’s The Morning Brew yesterday, Sehuelt said the cost of shipping from China had increased by 500 per cent in the last year. Read more here



Tobago PNM gearing up for upcoming THA polls

While a date is yet to be announced for the next Tobago House of Assembly election, the People’s National Movement in Tobago is gearing up for the polls and will soon begin screening potential candidates. Officials within the Tobago Council of the PNM said yesterday that screening of prospective candidates should commence by the second week of October. They said so far, letters of consent were being received and after that, processes for nominations will be finalised. The deadline for nominations is tomorrow. There was no word yesterday from the Progressive Democratic Patriots or Innovative Democratic Alliance on how these political parties were preparing for the upcoming election. Read more here



Bacchus: State cannot transform T&T by itself

The State cannot transform T&T by itself, Digital Transformation Minister Hassell Bacchus has said. Bacchus made the statement while speaking at a virtual event hosted by RBC Royal Bank T&T. He said his ministry is not “a panacea to get us where we want to go” but represents a specific focus of the Government and its intent to “get us where we want to be.” According to the Bacchus people, not the technology, are at the core of digital transformation as he stressed the importance of partnering in the digital transformation journey. Read more here



Administering of more Sputnik V second doses starts today

Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, has said that persons who took their first dose of the Sputnik V vaccine over the last three months will be able to access their second ‘jabs,’ as it is now available locally. Another consignment of the vaccine arrived in Guyana on Monday evening, according to Dr. Anthony during Tuesday’s COVID-19 update. He said persons could begin receiving the ‘shots’ on Wednesday. “So, we have received a quantity of second dose and what we are doing is encouraging anyone, who require their second dose, to come out from tomorrow (Wednesday) at the various sites across the country so that they can get their second dose Sputnik. Read more here



China: Big spender or loan shark?

China hands out at least twice as much development money as the US and other major powers, new evidence shows, with most of it coming in the form of risky high-interest loans from Chinese state banks. The sheer amount of Chinese lending is startling. Not too long ago China received foreign aid, but now the tables have turned. Over an 18-year period, China has granted or loaned money to 13,427 infrastructure projects worth $843bn across 165 countries, according to the AidData research lab at William & Mary, a university in the US state of Virginia. Much of this money is linked to Chinese President Xi Jinping's ambitious Belt and Road strategy. Starting in 2013, it leverages China's expertise in infrastructure projects, and ample foreign currency, to build new global trading routes. Read more here

29th September 2021


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