The Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) interim national council in Toronto, Canada recently hosted a reception in Canada for the 31st anniversary of the founding of the OECS via the cultural and entertainment standing committee.
The celebration showcased business entrepreneurs’ products and services and staged a cultural market place with fashion designers and models lighting up the catwalk with trendy outfits.
OECS nationals and others were warmly were received by Consul/Liaison Officer E Bernard John. Community messages and remarks were delivered by consuls general and consuls from all member countries.
Chairman of the OECS working group, Honorary Consul General of St. Kitts and Nevis, John Alleyne, performed double duty, delivering his community message and reading a message from current OECS chairman, Dr. Kenny Anthony, prime minister of St. Lucia.
Anguilla received more than EC$21 million (US$7.7 million) in the export of fish last year, according to figures released by the Department of Fisheries and Marine Resources.
It said that total fish production of 643 tons last year, was nearly 40 percent more than the previous year and that the $EC$21.5 million (US$7.9 million) revenue collected, surpassed the 2010 figure of EC$15.09 million (US$5.5million).
“The increase in the fish catch total for 2011 was primarily due to signification increases in fish and conch catches,” said Fisheries Director James Gumbs, who is also encouraging fishermen to continue partnering with the authorities to improve data collection within the sector.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has defended the decision by his administration to invest US$2.96 million in the cash-strapped regional airline, LIAT.
Skerrit said the airline has been working with the government to facilitate air travel into the island and that the decision to become a shareholder in the Antigua-based airline would further improve airlift.
He said LIAT had already introduced two flights to accommodate night landings in Dominica allowing Dominicans to take advantage of late connections from North America, Europe, Barbados and Antigua and Barbuda.
Hotelier and leader of the opposition Dominica Freedom Party (DFP), Judith Pestina, said while she supports the government’s investment in the airline, which is owned by the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Barbados, there was need for transparency.
She said the government must inform us of the specific benefits in investing eight million dollars in LIAT.
The Guyana government has signed an agreement with a subsidiary of the United States-based Anadarko Petroleum Corporation (Anadarko) to undertaken exploration in waters of the country’s exclusive economic zone (ECZ).
The agreement was signed with Anadarko Guyana Company and according to the Government Information News Agency (GINA) the company had been involved in discussions with the administration since 2011.
Anadarko is among the world’s largest independent oil and natural gas exploration and production companies with approximately 2.54 billion barrels of oil equivalent in proved reserves at year-end 2011.
GINA said the signing of the agreement comes as the government has awarded a license to NABI Oil and Gas Inc to undertake drilling on the coast of Guyana.
The government is also collaborating with a number of internal partners, including the US, Canada and Trinidad and Tobago, to enhance its capabilities in the development of the oil and gas sectors.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator AJ Nicholson has questioned the Opposition’s proposal for a referendum to let the people decide whether the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) should become Jamaica’s final appellate court.
“Why would the Opposition legislators not be willing to perform their duty, instead of wishing to leave the performance of that duty to the citizens who put them in the Parliament to carry out their obligations,” Senator Nicholson asked.
He stated that, for almost 80 years, none of the 39 former colonies of Britain had a referendum to move away from the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council and to have their own final Court of Appeal.
A referendum, he said was, in essence, a general election “with a political campaign being the axis in which it spins.”
He noted that neither in the constitutional arrangements nor the judgment of the Judicial Committee (of the Privy Council) was there any requirement other than that of a two-thirds majority vote to be obtained in each House of Parliament for Jamaica to subscribe to the Appellate Jurisdiction of the CCJ.
Nevis Premier Joseph Parry says his country is seeking a closer working relationship with the French Overseas Department of Guadeloupe in areas such as education, agriculture, geothermal exploration and culture.
Parry said he held “fruitful” discussions with Paris-based French diplomat Fred Constant, who is charge of Regional Co-operation for the Caribbean and the Guianas.
While in France, Parry met with the Ministry of Overseas and Regional Development and discussed with the ambassador the possibility of a memorandum of understanding for cooperation in a number of areas.
He said the discussions involved the possible exchange of students and teachers between the two islands, adding it was important that local students learned French and for teachers to be able to teach the language.
Parry said while his administration is not seeking scholarships from the French universities, it would appreciate any opening that would benefit local students.
Three journalists who stood for press freedom in spite of the infringement of their rights, imprisonment and abduction while carrying out their work were honored recently at the International Press Institute (IPI) gala fund-raising dinner and award ceremony at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Port of Spain.
The three-day IPI event was attended by media practitioners around the world.
David Rohde was presented with the 63rd World Press Hero Award. Rohde, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, is an investigative reporter for Thomson Reuters.
He won his first Pulitzer for his coverage of the Srebrenica massacre between July 2002 and December 2004 and shared the prestigious award a second time in 2008 for journalism in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
A special citation was given posthumously to Sir Etienne Dupuch, the longest serving editor in history.
Dupuch was editor of the Tribune newspaper (Bahamas) for 54 years and was also knighted by three different countries.
Iryna Vidanava, founder and editor in chief of 34 Multimedia Magazine in Belarus, was presented with the IPI Free Media Pioneer 2012 award.
Five new ministers of the Trinidad and Tobago government were recently sworn in by President Max Richards at a ceremony at Knowsley building, Queen’s Park, Port of Spain.
Among those sworn in were Minister of Environment and Water Resources, Ganga Singh, Youth and Child Development Marlene Coudray, Finance Minister Lary Howai and Jamal Mohammed (Communication).
Richards stated that 20 ministers had been reassigned with altered portfolios.
Among them were National Security Ministry Jack Warner, Dr. Roodlal Moonilal in the expanded Housing, Land and Marine Affairs, Chandresh Sharma, Transport and Nizam Baksh (Public Utilities).
Responding to concerns about the expansion of her Cabinet, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said while it is good to talk about numbers and size, what is important is that focus areas of concern to the population are being addressed by the reconfiguration and composition of the Cabinet.
She defended her decision to increase the number of Cabinet ministers to 33 making it the largest Cabinet in the country’s history (in addition to seven non-Cabinet ministers) and bigger than the Cabinets of such countries such as China (which has 27 members) and the United States (23) with massive populations.
Compiled by Azad Ali