JSC examines covid19 impact on micro, small businesses

In this file photo Tekesha Watson, owner of Bead_it, showcases her colourful waist beads on sale. - Photo by Roger Jacob
In this file photo Tekesha Watson, owner of Bead_it, showcases her colourful waist beads on sale. - Photo by Roger Jacob

THE Finance and Legal Affairs Joint Select Committee (JSC) will meet virtually from 9.45 am on Friday to examine the impact of the covid19 pandemic on the micro and small enterprises sector.

Independent Senator Hazel Thompson-Ahye is the chair of this committee. Its members include Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh, Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat, Digital Transformation Minister Hassel Bacchus, Port of Spain South MP Keith Scotland, Opposition Senator Jayanti Lutchmedial and Barataria/San Juan MP Saddam Hosein.

In his 2022 budget presentation in the House of Representatives on October 4, Finance Minister Colm Imbert said, "Since March 2020 and despite our lower revenues, we have incurred expenditures of over $5 billion through covid19 relief for individuals and businesses, including small and medium-sized businesses as well as economy-wide liquidity support with an associated lowering of interest rates by the Central Bank."

He added that an additional $200 million in covid19 relief was contained in the budget.

The Senate sits on November 23 from 1.30 pm for private members' day. It is expected that the Senate will debate a motion filed by Independent Senator Anthony Vieira to censure the Opposition over its conduct towards independent senators at a meeting of the Electoral College (combined membership of the House and Senate) on October 15.

On that day, the college rejected a motion filed by Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar to appoint a tribunal to investigate the removal from office of President Paula-Mae Weekes.

Persad-Bissessar's motion was in relation to events that led to the collapse of the Police Service Commission (PSC) last month and the failure to send a merit list of candidates for a commissioner of police (CoP) to the House for consideration.

When the independent senators each voted "no" on the motion, UNC parliamentarians cried, "Shame!" Opposition MPs and senators loudly protested the presence of Independent Senator Charrise Seepersad, sister of former PSC chair Bliss Seepersad, in the college's membership.

On October 23, Opposition Senator David Nakhid continued the UNC's attack on the Independent Senators, criticising comments made after the vote by Independent Senators Paul Richards and Anthony Vieira.

Vieira observed that Opposition Senator Jayanti Lutchmedial, who also participated in the meeting, was part of the legal team in one lawsuit related to the PSC/CoP matter. Richards said he had no problem with political disagreements, but felt the events of October 21 brought the entire Parliament into disrepute.

Subsequently, Persad-Bissessar accused independent senators of "stepping out of their crease and into the political gayelleā€¯ on October 21.

In a televiision interview on October 27, former independent senator Martin Daly, SC, expressed concern about ongoing hostility between parliamentarians after the events of October 15.

Referring to a report at that time, alleging that an independent senator might take action against opposition senators over the events of October 21, Daly said such a step would be ill-advised.

After its sitting on Wednesday to pass a motion to revoke the state of emergency (SoE) implemented on May 15 as part of the national covid19 response, the House will sit on November 24 at 1.30 pm to continue debate on the TT Revenue Authority Bill.


"JSC examines covid19 impact on micro, small businesses"

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