Caribbean Round_Up

Caribbean

The Canadian government has given a Can$5 million grant to a CARICOM Food Security Project at the University of the West Indies (UWI).

The three-year project, a UWI initiative, is being conducted in collaboration with McGill University in Canada and a number of third partners.

Some of them include the University of Guyana, University of Trinidad and Tobago, Group for the Analysis of Development of Peru, Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute, agriculture and education ministries in Guyana, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia and National School Dietary Services Limited.

The grant funding was awarded by the Canadian International Food Security Research Foundation and the International Development Research Council (IRDC) of Canada.

IRDC Program Specialist Dr. Renauld De Plean said the project was one of ten selected from a shortlist of 22 project partnerships which were invited to develop full proposals to deal with the issue of food security and reducing hunger.

Caribbean

The Caribbean’s first low budget carrier, REDjet, has accused regional industry players of seeking to frustrate the progress of the airline, as it continues to face difficulties in obtaining the necessary licenses to operate in some Caribbean countries.

In recent weeks the Barbados-based REDjet has had difficulties obtaining the documents to operate into Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica and the airline’s director of development, Robbie Burns said he welcomed reports that the prime ministers of the three Caribbean countries- Jamaican, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados – would be meeting later this month to discuss the matter.

Recently, Jamaica’s Prime Minister Bruce Golding admitted that his administration denied REDjet permission to fly to the island saying he is not yet prepared to allow the “Lovebird planes (Air Jamaica) to drop out of the sky.”

Burns said REDjet would not be deterred by the efforts to stop its expansion throughout the region.

Barbados

Three British nationals were arrested and charged with fighting aboard a flight bound for Barbados.

Derek John George Edmond, 76, Zoe King, 46 and Martin Robert King were reportedly involved in a fracas on board a Virgin Atlantic aircraft, which originated from Gatwick Airport, London recently.

Police said they received information there was a fight onboard the flight enroute to Barbados and that several passengers were involved.

The flight landed safely at the Grantley Adams International Airport around 2.20 p.m.

After investigations, the men were arrested and charged with “disruptive behavior onboard an aircraft” police said.They appeared at a magistrate court and were ordered to pay various fines.

Grenada

Grenada took another step forward in developing its agri-business industry when Jessamine Eden, the sprawling estate and botanic garden located in Grenville Vale, St. George’s launched the island’s first pure bee pollen and other pharmacy-grade dietary capsules.

Prime Minister Tillman Thomas said in a statement that his administration supports Eden Laboratories Inc., the company which launched the new potent herbal supplements.

“It is positively significant that any launch of a new Grenadian product, especially an agri-business product, should be a great cause for celebration because this translates into better use of local raw materials; better food security and more positive foreign exchange and increased employment opportunities for our people,” Thomas said.

He also said that apiculture, the commercial farming of bees, fits perfectly with his government’s emphasis on prioritizing the development of agriculture in all of its forms of added value.

Haiti

A storm, which caused mudslides and flooding in impoverished Haiti killed 25 people, officials said.

Rain engulfed the capital for several hours recently, turning hilly streets into rivers and sweeping debris down hillsides of Haiti’s capital.

Motorists abandoned their cars. Women could be heard screaming for help as water pounded the supposedly temporary settlements that arose in Port-au-Prince after last year’s powerful earthquake.

Marie Alta Jean-Baptiste, director of Haiti’s Civil Protection Department told Radio Galaxie that ll people drowned or died in mudslides. All but one of the deaths happened in Port-au-Prince area.

Officials say they fear the hurricane season, which officially began on June 1, could exacerbate a cholera outbreak that has already killed more than 5,000 people.

Jamaica

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett says that Jamaica has made a breakthrough in the faith-based tourism market, with the historic visit of more than 4,000 crew and passengers on the Carnival Destiny cruise ship’s inaugural “Cruise with a Cause” stop in Montego Bay.

The passengers, including religious leaders and music ministers, have participated in several community outreach projects in schools and correctional institutions across the island, since their arrival in Montego Bay on June 1, 2011.

Bartlett told a press conference at the Tourism Center, Montego Bay that the breakthrough is part of the marketing strategies his ministry has been utilizing, to gain increased arrivals and increase tourism earnings.

According to Bartlett, the arrival of the Carnival Destiny on the “Cruise with a Cause” trip, could very well be regarded as a red letter day for faith-based tourism in Jamaica, as in the United States alone, there are some 14-16 million persons who travel across the world, annually, for faith-based activities, spending some US$300-$400 million in the process.

Suriname

Cuba is sending some 55 doctors and other health officials to Suriname officials disclosed at a press conference.

During President Desi Bouterse’s official visit to Cuba recently, both countries agreed to strengthen bilateral relations including health, agriculture and sports.

Suriname’s Health Minister Celsius Waterberg noted that the country has a severe shortage of skilled nurses, doctors and other medical specialists to cover the entire country.

Havana will send general practitioners, pharmacists, oncologists, oculists, and dental surgeons to Suriname.

Waterberg disclosed that since the government is planning to build four new hospitals for the next five years, the country will need at least 96 medical specialists in various fields and skilled nurses.

Trinidad

The Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago has initiated legal proceedings against billionaire businessman Lawrence Duprey and former Clico Investment Bank (CIB) Chairman Andre Monteil, some two years after the collapse of CL Financial.

A statement from Central Bank said civil proceedings were filed against Duprey and Monteil-companies both men were affiliated with –arising from the failure of CLICO, which resulted in the Central Bank having to exercise its emergency powers under the Central Bank’s Act, in respect of the insurance giant.

In January 2009, following the collapse of CL Financial, the Central Bank and the government were forced to take control of the conglomerate and its banking and insurance subsidiaries, including the prized CLICO.

The lawsuit against Duprey, Monteil and their companies include claims of mismanagement and misappropriation of its income and assets to the detriment of policyholders and mutual fund investors.

The Central Bank is seeking damages, equitable compensation and declarations related to certain agreements and property of CLICO.

Trinidad

Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has warned drug and human traffickers that their operations will be brought to an end with the recent commissioning of two Agusta Westland helicopters.

Two of the four helicopters, valued at TT$2.1 billion, were ordered in 2007 by the former Patrick Manning administration.

Speaking at the commissioning at Piarco Airport, the prime minister said her government intends to acquire a host of naval assets to protect the country’s borders.

She said the new border protection and naval operational plan will include in its first line of defense at least 12 Coast Guard installations strategically placed around the island and this will ensure that the country will be properly secured.

The new helicopters would be involved in the process of a multi-pronged border operational plan.

Compiled by Azad Ali

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