Daily Brief - Tuesday 20th October, 2020

NEWS

Attorneys, prisoners 'fed up' with disorganised virtual court

Criminal defence attorneys and state prosecutors are again complaining about the disorganisation of the virtual court process. Several attorneys, both defence and the prosecution contacted Newsday to say they are now fed up. They say they receive links to court hearings late, sometimes minutes before the matter is listed to start, which draws the ire of the sitting judge or magistrate. They also receive e-mails without links, or for the wrong matters. Read more here

Restaurateurs on verge of closure want ease

As the restaurant industry battles through the seventh month of COVID-19 restrictions, several owners say unless the Government eases restrictions soon, low revenues may force them out of business by November. Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley will give an update on any possible ease in public health measures on Saturday. However, Trent Restaurants Ltd CEO Peter George says the economic impact has already taken its toll. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Gonzales: No $2M increase in rent at public utilities

Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales dismissed claims from Naparima MP Rodney Charles there is a $2 million increase in rent at facilities currently occupied by the ministry. Gonzales’ rejection of Charles’ claims came before the Standing Finance Committee of the House of Representatives approved a $1,944,382,285 allocation for the ministry. He explained the ministry currently rents four properties, one of which is 3 Alexandra Place in St Clair, where its headquarters is located. Gonzales said the Public Administration Ministry’s property and real estate division(PRESD) is currently in talks with the landlords of these properties about the rent arrangements. Read more here

US Embassy defers to Homeland Security

That’s the direction from the US Embassy in Trinidad and Tobago on reports that US Senator Bob Menendez said he has confirmed information that the US did “stealth deportations” of Venezuelans through this country earlier this year. In response to queries from the T&T Guardian yesterday, the embassy’s Public Affairs division replied, “We are aware of the reports suggesting that US deportations to Venezuela may have continued via third countries this year. We refer you to the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for any questions concerning deportations.” Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Atlantic CEO: Energy Demand Slowly Rising Again

The CEO of Atlantic LNG, Dr Philip Mshelbila has contended that there are signs that demand for energy is on the rise once again. However, he admitted that the increase has been sluggish. Speaking at the American Chamber of Commerce of T&T’s (AMCHAM T&T) 2020 HSSE conference, Mshelbila said: “The global LNG business has experienced a contraction, as reduced economic activity around the world has had a knock-on effect on demand for natural gas and LNG. Fortunately, there are signs that global demand for energy is beginning to recover, albeit slowly.” Read more here

Danger of collapse

The food, beverage and entertainment sectors are strongly pleading with the Government to have discussions with them to pave the way for a safe reopening, as the danger of a socio-economic collapse is looming larger than ever. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Well-being of Guyanese paramount

Though the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has reduced the projected positive growth rate of Guyana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Vice-President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo says the Government is more keen on improving the well-being of Guyanese. In the October edition of its World Economic Outlook (WEO) report, the IMF projected that Guyana’s real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would increase by 26.2 per cent. Read more here

No BPO Unions - Insider Warns Of Mass Exodus Of Outsourcing Firms Should Workers Be Unionised

Trade unionist John Levy is hoping to break down the resistance from operators in the global services sector to have union representation within their firms, pointing out that several government and private-sector entities have scuppered attempts to establish formal arrangements to protect the rights of the workers. “We have no connection with the outsourcing sector at this time,” Levy, the general secretary of the Union of Clerical, Administrative and Supervisory Employees (UCASE), told The Gleaner. “It is a major challenge because they have been using fixed-term contracts as a weapon.” Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Trump closes his campaign by insulting Fauci for telling the truth

President Donald Trump's election endgame argument, far from bristling with new solutions to a pandemic that has killed 220,000 Americans, on Monday devolved into a campaign of insults against Dr. Anthony Fauci -- for telling the truth about the disease. Trump ridiculed Fauci as a "disaster" and an "idiot" who has been around for "500 years" -- trashing one of the nation's best hopes of easing the pandemic along with his recommendations to quell an alarming Covid-19 surge. Read more here

Brexit: Have EU-UK trade talks reached a dead end?

After months of wrangling and shadow-boxing, posturing and incomprehension of the bottom-line priorities of the other side - are the negotiations truly over? Political Twitter is exploding with theories: that Prime Minister Boris Johnson never really wanted a deal in the first place, that the EU threw away its chances to make a deal with missteps at last week's summit, or that the UK is overplaying its hand - expecting the EU to "cave in at 10 to midnight" in negotiations... Certainly, the last 24 hours have not played out as many a seasoned observer of this by now very, very, very long Brexit process might have imagined. Unlike Mr Johnson's decision on Friday to walk away from negotiations. That was half-predicted, following the EU leaders' summit. Read more here

20th October 2020

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