Caribbean Round-Up

Caribbean

A call has been made for Caribbean competition among carriers so as to keep airfares reasonable.

Barbadian businessman Bernie Weatherhead says there is need for competitive fares in the region saying there is always a challenge with the amount of tax which is added to airline tickets by governments.

He said the taxes amount to about 67 percent of the tickets’ total cost and this is sad as it acts as a deterrent to regional travel.

“Travel between the islands is one of the best ways to boost regional trade. When there are high fares, there will be less travel and, likewise, less trade,” he said.

Weatherhead said Caribbean governments’ support of the airline Liat (194) Ltd is one of the reasons why the lifespan of new carriers to the region is often short.

Speaking on the issue of REDjet’s inability to start flights from Barbados to Jamaica and Trinidad, the businessman said he was “l00 percent supportive of REDjet or any other carrier desirous of operating in the Caribbean.”

Weatherhead, who is a member of travel agencies across the Caribbean, said he was saddened to see governments sitting down and not dealing with the REDjet or airline issues facing the region.

“If there is a case against REDjet, it should be placed on the table and dealt with, not prolonged,” he added.

REDjet, a low-cost carrier is yet to get a permit to operate in and out of Trinidad and Tobago.

Caribbean

A sharp rise in the Air Passenger Duty (APD) airport departure tax to the Caribbean has not dampened the popularity of the Caribbean among British travelers.

Despite fears of a decline in the number of UK visitors, a large number of people are still booking flights to the holiday destination.

A comprehensive travel insurance policy could prove useful for those planning a trip abroad.

According to a study by Hayes & Jarvis, there has been a 25 percent rise in holidays to Antigua, Barbados, Jamaica and Cuba over the last two months.

The firm’s commercial director said “this has been fueled by tactical discounting by Caribbean hoteliers.”

Mexico has emerged as the most popular long-haul holiday destination.

Direct flights being offered to the resort of Cancun by British Airways has particularly encouraged Britons to plan holidays in Mexico.

Anguilla

Chief Minister of Anguilla Hubert Hughes has repeated a call for his small Caribbean island with a population of 13,000 to become independent from Britain, whose colony it has been since 1650.

He is doing so in the worst of economic times for Caribbean countries and during a period of great uncertainty in the world generally.

CARICOM leaders, to which Anguilla has observer status, have put their countries economic integration arrangements on hold, deciding that it would be “best to pause efforts to create a Single Economy and to consolidate the gains of the Single Market” before taking any further action on the specific matters “such as the movement toward a single currency.”

Within a CARICOM framework Anguilla’s independence from Britain would not leave it swimming alone in the ocean of international relations without even a meager live belt.

Barbados

A Barbados man has pleaded guilty to setting a clothing store on fire in Barbados which killed six women.

Renaldo Anderson Alleyne pleaded guilty recently to six counts of manslaughter.

Pathologists testified that the women died from asphyxiation because of smoke inhalation.

Police said they became trapped when they ran to the back of the store.

Three of the women were employed at the Campus Trendz Boutique in the capital, Bridgetown. The other three were customers.

Alleyne would be sentenced later this month.

Jamaica

A joint operation involving the Contraband Enforcement team and the Jamaica Constabulary Force have seized more than $30 million worth of cocaine.

Customs officials said 13 packages of cocaine weighing 13 kilos were seized at the Kingston Wharves.

Five persons have been detained for questioning with the seizure.

The packages were reportedly hidden under containers found in a transshipment vessel from Guyana.

The vessel which arrived at Kingston Wharves recently was bound for the United States.

This is the second major cocaine find in containers at the Kingston Port from Guyana within the past two months.

Jamaica

Former Jamaica Prime Minister Edward Seaga has called on the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) to break its silence on the bribery allegations that has left regional football bosses at the CONCACAF level in the cross hairs of the bitterly contested FIFA presidential elections, and to return any money it may have collected.

Seaga has demanded that the leadership of the JFF come public with any involvement it may have had in the alleged “buying” of votes.

Additionally, Seaga said that if the JFF had any funds in relation to the scandal, the money should be returned.

He believes the integrity of the nation’s football is under threat and everything should be done to protect the country’s international image.

He also called on other football bosses to do the same.

Jamaica

Heavy rainfall over a two-day period in Jamaica resulted in the drowning of a man in Nine Miles, Bull Bay in St. Andrews and extensive damage to the island’s road network.

According to the Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), reports received from the Police Control are that two men were trapped by flood waters at the Bob Marley Beach in Bull Bay while in a fishing boat. One was rescued and the other was taken to hospital.

Flood waters also left Hordley Crossing in Eastern St.Thomas impassable. The crossing, which connects St. Thomas and Portland, left motorists with no alternative route.

A tour of sections of the corporate area saw people bracing themselves for what weather forecasters have predicted will be an active hurricane season.

Trinidad and Tobago

Bilateral ties between Trinidad and Tobago and Nigeria are to be strengthened in the area of children and maternal health, following talks between the first ladies of the two nations.

Nigeria’s First Lady Dame Patience Jonathan, gave the undertaking recently in Abuja when she received the First Lady of Trinidad and Tobago Jean Ramjohn-Richards.

Jonathan said the passion shared by both countries in the area of care for women, children and the indigent would enable them to explore several areas of mutual benefit.

She reiterated the Federal government’s promise to give effect to women’s participation in governance with the 35 percent slot expected to be allocated to them.

Trinidad

Former Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Patrick Manning will return to the House of Representatives later this month when the second session of parliament resumes.

The house recently concluded sittings for the current first session of parliament.

Manning was suspended last month for contempt of parliament in making allegations about Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissesssar’s multi-million dollar house.

He had alleged that the mansion cost TT$150 million and questioned as to where she got the funds to spend on the building.

The government will have a ceremonial opening of the second session of parliamentary term next month. Following that, Parliament will take its “summer” break until September.

Compiled by Azad Ali

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