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A total of 1,891 people were retrenched over March to last month, says Labour Minister Stephen Mc Clashie.

He gave the update in Parliament yesterday in reply to Opposition queries on numbers of retrenchment notices sent to the ministry since COVID-19 arrived on Trinidad and Tobago’s shores in March.

Mc Clashie noted that companies are obliged to send to the ministry notices when more than five people are being retrenched from a business. However, he admitted that companies aren’t obliged to inform the ministry of other ways they use to terminate workers’ employment beyond retrenchment.

Mc Clashie said from March 21 to October, 98 retrenchment notices had been sent to the ministry. These involved 1,891 people.

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh replied to another Opposition query regarding the recording of information on pregnancies for registered and non-registered Venezuelans

Deyalsingh said the information is registered with ante-natal clinics which such people attended, hospitals where they delivered babies and the data is sent to the Registrar General’s office and Central Statistical Office under confidentiality seal.

He couldn’t immediately give the number of Venezuelans – including non registered ones – who’ve given birth in TT but promised to source it.

Naparima MP Rodney Charles who’d raised the query wanted to know if the information is also relayed to the National Security Ministry. Deyalsingh repeated his information

On other queries, Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly said $40m was allocated in the 2021 Budget to buy 20,000 laptops – with rubber bumpers and ports- for secondary school students.

These will be distributed via a means test in schools to see who is eligible.

There are also pledges of donations from businesses to buy 20,000 laptops for primary schools students. She said businesses are making their decisions on which schools they will give to.

On another matter, Leader of Government Business in the Lower House Camille Robinson -Regis announced members selected for Parliament’s committees ranging from Energy to National Security.

On the latter team, she noted that it was up to the Committee to seek disqualification of any member who has conflict.

Members of the National Security team are the UNC’s Roodal Moonilal and PNM MPs Fitzgerald Hinds, Keith Scotland and Ayana Webster -Roy. Members of Joint Select Committees on several bills were also announced – including the Tobago Self Government bill and others on Campaign Finance Reform, Fisheries Management and shipping.