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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

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Grenada PM defends curfew

ST GEORGE'S, Grenada (CMC) — Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell said yesterday he remains “confident and optimistic” that Grenada will be able to weather the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic as he defended his Administration's decision to impose a curfew on the island.

Mitchell, speaking at a news conference here, said that virus was not only a health problem but a global economic one with implications for all sectors of the global society.

“Businesses, workers, those who are already vulnerable; even the coffers of government are impacted by this crisis,” he told reporters adding that the seven-day mandatory curfew is part of efforts to reduce community transmission of COVID-19.

Mitchell, who was accompanied by his Health Minister Nicholas Steele, said that the pandemic had thrown the global community into a tailspin.

“But we have to arm ourselves the best way possible to get through this crisis. The long and short of this pandemic, is that the longer we take to adhere to the advice of the experts and the regulations issued by Government, it is the longer we will be in this situation,” he warned.

T&T security minister condemns behaviour of cops, soldiers

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) — National Security Minister Stuart Young said yesterday that 'an immediate investigation” would be conducted by the police and the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force (TTDF) after videos on social media show law enforcement officials engaged in “inappropriate behaviour” as the country urged people to stay home to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In a statement, Young said that he had seen the videos “that appear to be of certain members of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service and the TTDF engaging in inappropriate behaviour with members of the public, forcing them to consume what may be alcoholic beverages”.

“The behaviour depicted in the videos is condemned in the strongest manner,” Young said, noting that he had communicated his position to the Police Commissioner Gary Griffith and the Chief of Defence Force Air Commodore Darryl Daniel.

In the video, the law enforcement officers are heard and seen laughing as they give two men drinks in a rum bottle. In one of the videos a man was threatened to be shot if he did not consume the drink in a timely manner and do as he was told. Another man was made to do push-ups and outrun a police vehicle, while another man is seen choking on the drink.

Barbados Gov't issues warning to employers

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — The Barbados Government is warning employers that they are in breach of the law if they insist that their workers take vacation during the curfew period that has been instituted here as part of the efforts to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The 8:00 pm to 6:00 am curfew is expected to end on Tuesday, April 14.

Attorney General Dale Marshall warned employers that “the law is the law and it must not be mocked”. He said under the Holidays with Pay Act, an employer cannot send an employee on vacation without giving him adequate notice.

“So, when an employer says to an employee, I want you to take a vacation, that employee has the right to say no, plain and simple. I'm not here to give people labour law advice, but that is the effect of the law; we have not amended that legislation,” he said.

According to the Holiday with Pay Act, employers are required to give staff no less than 14 days of notice for vacation leave. However, the attorney general has appealed to employees with accumulated vacation days to compromise.

“Let's be reasonable. I know of some in some places where employers have said that individuals have 120 days of vacation accumulated. So, if an employer says to an individual, I want you to take vacation, there should be some spirit of compromise, if you have that flexibility,” he said.

Nation urged to help fight war against COVID-19

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) — Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley on Sunday urged the nation to fight the “invisible enemy” — COVID-19.

In a message delivered from his residence, just hours before the implementation of measures to curb the spread of the virus, Rowley put the twin island republic on the war path.

In making reference to citizens who fought in both World Wars, the Prime Minister said that the battle against the coronavirus is no different.

“The difference between this war and those World Wars was that those who picked up arms to defend us, carried guns, fired bullets. The war that we're fighting now is an invisible enemy, a micro-pathogen that you will not see with the naked eye, but we know it's there,” he said.

“This pathogen could strike us and it could take days before we know who is a casualty.”

“In those days when the instruction was given, it was more than likely an instruction that says, 'To the breaches, aim, fire.' Today the instructions are, 'Take cover', meaning, stay home. Do not congregate; isolate and quarantine yourselves,” Rowley said.

“Today, every single one of us has to be a soldier because the enemy can come from any one of us. So we have to be extra careful,” he added.


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