One-Minute Reads ... news from around the region

July 06, 2020

Guyana records 16 new cases of COVID-19

Sixteen new cases of COVID-19 were recorded by health officials here last Saturday, taking the total number of persons who have tested positive to 272.

The Ministry of Public Health said there are currently 138 active cases hospitalised, including three in intensive care, at various facilities across the country, while 16 others are in institutional quarantine.

At the same time, the ministry said three more persons have recovered from the virus, taking the total number of recoveries to 120. So far, Guyana has recorded 14 deaths.

The ministry is in the process of locking down several communities in the two interior regions to begin widespread testing and screening.

Medical teams will be in Aranka and surrounding mining areas in Region Seven, as well as Moruca in Region One in the coming days.


Legislator welcomes NYPD budget cuts

A Haitian-American legislator who chairs the Brooklyn Democratic Party has welcomed cuts to the New York Police Department (NYPD) budget.

Amid nationwide calls to end police brutality and push for police reform, the New York City Council and Mayor Bill de Blasio have passed a budget that includes a US$1-billion funding reduction to the NYPD.

New York State Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte, the daughter of Haitian immigrants, who represents the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn, said the cuts "represent significant changes for our city".

Bichotte noted that the reduced budget will move the supervision of school safety officers, crossing guards and homeless engagement staff out of NYPD's jurisdiction.

BVI in talks with other carriers should main one falter

The government of the British Virgin Islands (BVI) is in the process of having talks with other carriers to fill void if regional airline LIAT is liquidated.

According to the chairman of the BVI Airport Authority (BVIAA), Bevis Sylvester, the talks are being held to ensure that the territory is not left disadvantaged.

"We are currently in heightened discussions with InterCaribbean Airlines and Caribbean Airlines, with the hope that those two private partners will be able to expand their BVI routes beyond the pre-COVID structure so that we can quickly fill the void left behind by LIAT," he said.

Sylvester, in a recent statement, said the BVIAA is "more than ever cognisant" of the need to expand the runway at the territory's main airport on Beef Island.

He said such an expansion will significantly boost local tourism and "will mean more jobs, both in the short and long-term, for islanders".


Speaker denies assault charge

Speaker of the Legislative Assembly McKeeva Bush last Friday denied charges of assault and one of being drunk and disorderly, when he appeared, via video link, in court.

Bush, 65, a veteran politician, is accused of beating up a bar manager in February. However, no trial date has been set for the case because Bush's attorney is waiting on forensic analysis of CCTV footage.

The politician's attorney, Michael Alberga, told the court that he had dispatched the tapes, which he received from the crown in discovery, to Miami for analysis.

He, however, stated that with the COVID-19 pandemic raging in Florida, work at the lab had been stalled, and given the circumstances caused by "the health crisis there", he did not know when the analysis would be done.

The case has been set down for a management hearing on August 14, and Bush was bound over to return on that date.


Gov't to assist LIAT employees

The Grenada government says it will be providing assistance to local employees of the cash-strapped regional airline, LIAT, under its stimulus economic package to help citizens cope with the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell gave the assurance during a meeting with the workers and their trade union representatives.

A government statement noted that the LIAT employees have not received salaries since March, and earlier last week, the major shareholder governments of the Antigua-based airline, announced plans to liquidate the company because of the multimillion-dollar debt owed to creditors.

"Members of Cabinet are of the opinion that we have a moral responsibility to assist workers during this difficult time. It is not their fault that they are suddenly and unceremoniously relieved of jobs after years of dedicated service and sacrifice," Mitchell said.

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