Today’s news:

Barbados

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts Barbados economy is on a comeback.

The bank, in an analysis of the economic situation in the Caribbean island, said the economy is beginning to recover as growth started to pick up early this year.

Analysts predict real gross domestic product in Barbados will grow by about two percent this year mainly due to higher tourist arrivals, signaling the onset of a recovery from the slow growth in 2010 and the two earlier years of negative growth.

The IMF team also welcomed the launch of the Financial Services Commission, which will bring under one umbrella the supervision of insurance, credit unions, securities and international financial services will strengthen the regulation and supervision of non-bank financial institutions.

Barbados

The government of Barbados is committed to strengthening the social partnership and to making that body more transparent to Barbadians.

This was revealed by Minister of Labor Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo during the closing ceremony of a Tripartite Caribbean Symposium entitled Tripartism and Social Dialogue; Comparative Experiences in Dealing with Economic and Social Development at the Hilton Barbados.

Acknowledging that persons needed to be more aware of the social partnership and its contribution to the national development of the country, she noted that government would embark on a program of public education to address this vacuum.

Dr. Byer Suckoo also said that a subcommittee of the social partnership would be established in order to identify key deliverables and methods for monitoring and evaluating them.

The two-day Tripartite Symposium brought together several participants from across the region, as well as from Singapore and Mauritius.

Guyana

A 24-year-old American was caught with cocaine in his luggage at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport recently.

Reports are during a routine search of the man’s suitcase, the illicit drug was found concealed in false compartments.

The man was an outgoing passenger on an early morning Caribbean Airlines flight for the USA.

This was the second drug bust in many days at Guyana’s premier airport. A woman traveling with a child was caught with cocaine concealed in false compartments of three suitcases.

And a week before United States citizen Steven Dixon was remanded in custody after he was allegedly intercepted at the airport with over five kilos of cocaine in his suitcase.

Dixon, 30, of Brooklyn, New York was not required to plead to the trafficking charges.

Jamaica

Jamaican dancehall artiste Carlton “Spragga Benz” Grant is considering legal action after being named as a person of interest in connection with a triple murder in April.

His attorney, Marlon Gilbert Roberts said Grant was interviewed by police from the Major Investigations Task Force recently, and the police have said he is no longer a person of interest.

Grant was named as a major person of interest by the east Kingston police in connection with a triple murder in McIntyre Villa.

However, it later emerged that Grant was overseas on tour and was scheduled to perform in Colorado the night of the killings.

Police said they are satisfied that he was not in the island at the time of the murders.

St. Kitts

The government of St. Kitts and Nevis has vowed to stamp out the use and abuse of marijuana.

Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas, who is a student of medicine, pharmacology and biochemistry, acknowledged that there is an appropriate medicinal ingredient extracted from marijuana used in the treatment of glaucoma that has been worked on in Jamaica and several states in the USA permit by law the use of marijuana by persons to ease severe chronic pain.

“We do not have any of that use here in St. Kitts and Nevis and so at the moment marijuana is illegal in its use and apart from that, it is commonly an abused drug and the government will speak out against its use and abuse here in St. Kitts and Nevis,” he said.

“Marijuana can be used for medicinal purposes and that is well established, but at the moment it is an illegal and abused drug in this country and we shall do everything to stamp it out,” he added.

St. Lucia

The St. Lucian government has put a temporary freeze on the price of gasoline and diesel as it tries to cushion consumers from the escalating price of oil.

Prime Minister Stephen King said the excise tax on gasoline has been reduced by 36.7 percent while the duty on gasoline has been cut by 15.67 percent.

This will result in a reduction in the revenue earned by government from the tax but it means that the price of gasoline and diesel remain unchanged at EC$15.38 and $15.57 a gallon respectively.

He pointed out that the decision to keep the retail prices of gasoline and diesel unchanged was taken despite the continuous increases in the import price of fuel for the March 28 to April 22, period which would have determined the price change on May 9.

The prime minister said the reduction will remain in effect for one month and will be reviewed each month thereafter.

Trinidad

The People’s Partnership government (PP), which recently celebrated its first anniversary, has slipped in its popularity rating according to a NACTA poll.

The poll shows that the government and the prime minister’s approval ratings have slipped from a year ago.

However, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar still has an above 50 percent approval rating.

The poll also revealed that if a general election is called now the PP will regain power.

Trinidad

The Trinidad and Tobago government has renamed Crown Point International Airport in Tobago, the Arthur Napoleon Raymond Robinson in honor of the country’s third prime minister and third president of the republic.

Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar and members of her cabinet traveled to Tobago were for the renaming of the airport recently.

Also present was Robinson who attended the ceremony to mark the renaming. Robinson said the occasion reflected “the unity of our people.

Stating that Tobago had been neglected for many years under previous administrations, Robinson felt confident that Tobago has a “splendid future” ahead of it under the People’s Partnership government.

Persad-Bissessar said renaming the airport was one of several initiatives which the government had for Tobago.

Compiled by Azad Ali

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