Caribbean RoundUp

CARICOM Secretary General Edwin LaRoque, Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit and Grenada Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell; and Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne (second from right) at the High-Level Pledging Conference: Building a more Climate-resilient Community.
United Nations / Kim Haughton

Antigua

Antigua and Barbuda has been ranked as the Caribbean’s top Citizenship by Investment program, while Grenada and St Kitts and Nevis are ranked second and third respectively.

This is according to the Global Residence and Citizenship Program 2017-2018 report.

The report was released by global residence and citizenship advisory firm Henley & Partners, ahead of the 11th Global Residence and Citizenship Conference which came off recently.

For the third consecutive year, Antigua and Barbuda’s Citizenship by Investment program is the top-ranking one in the Caribbean, with a score of 61 out of 100,

It is followed by Grenada with a score of 60, and St. Kitts and Nevis with a score of 59.

The report has become the industry standard for measuring the attractiveness of investment migration programs.

Henley & Partners said in a statement that while Antigua and Barbuda is ranked fourth globally, the recent reduction in the minimum contribution amount accepted by the country’s Citizenship by Investment Unit will likely affect the program’s rankings in next year’s report.

Antigua and Barbuda ranked fourth in the world, scoring overall for Processing Time and Quality of Processing, Compliance, Investment Requirements, Transparency and Relocation Flexibility. It also scored highly in terms of Residence Requirements and Visa-free Access.

Bahamas

A fast new ferry service from Miami to Freeport, Grand Bahama, was launched recently by FRS Caribbean.

The high-speed boat “San Gwaan” that is currently operating between Miami and Bimini is now adding a second destination directly from Miami to Grand Bahamas, in just three hours.

The vessel, which can carry up to 427 passengers, is equipped with bars in both passenger decks, where passengers can enjoy refreshment and snacks during their voyage and duty-free shopping.

Guests can also purchase excursions onboard to enjoy the island, like water activities, jet skiing and snorkeling.

FRS Caribbean started the service from Nov. 9, 2017, with day trip prices starting at only $69.98 plus taxes.

Barbados

Britain’s Minister of State with responsibility for the Caribbean and the Commonwealth, Lord Tariq Mohammad Ahmad recently visited Barbados to strengthen relations between both countries and advances of mutual interest.

His visit was part of a three-day visit to the Caribbean, which also included Trinidad and Tobago.

Lord Ahmad held meetings with Prime Minister Freundel Smith, minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade, Senator Maxine McClean and Minister of International Business, Donville Innis.

Lord Ahmad also visited the Regional Security System (RSS) and met with representatives of the Disaster Emergency Management (CDEMA), the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and members of the local business community.

The discussions were wide-ranging, which also included the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, post Brexit trading arrangements with the region and joint efforts to combat organized crime across the Eastern Caribbean.

In an official statement released by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the minister said, The UK and Caribbean share a long rich history with shared values, common interests with Barbados and the region,

“We will remain strong partners in trade and will continue to cooperate to combat trafficking and counterterrorism to ensure our citizens’ security and protected our way of life,” he stated.

Cuba

Cuba has received four million tourists, reaching the milestone two months ahead of that in 2016.

The Ministry of Tourism in Cuba (MINTUR) said despite being close to over 16,000 rooms in hotels in the northern keys of Cuba due to the impact caused by Hurricane Irma, officials are confident they will reach the 4.7 million visitors forecast.

The MINTUR said an effort to repair facilities in Santa Maria, Coco and Guillermo keys, the most affected by the storm, has enabled the high season to begin with all the tourist destinations in the country operating with higher standards.

Jamaica

Jamaica has received high marks from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for its performance under the Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) with the IMF saying “commitment to the economic reform program remains strong,’ with “economic indicators at historical highs.”

In its recent review of Jamaica’s economic performance, the IMF noted that “unemployment is falling, new jobs are being created and there is robust activity in construction and hotel and restaurants. Inflation and current account are low, helped by relatively stable oil prices and the government’s policy efforts.”

The Washington-based multilateral said after four years of difficult economic reforms. Jamaica’s program implementation remains exemplary.

The IMF hailed the “landmark public pension reform bill” passed recently. It said that while there are program risks, commitment by the government to the reform program “remains strong.”

The international lending agency praised the government for the fact that “inflation and the current account deficit remained subdued.”

St. Kitts

St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister, Dr. Timothy Harris, is standing firm that the leader of the opposition, Dr Denzil Douglas, is not qualified to be represented in the National Assembly of St. Kitts and Nevis following the discovery that he is the holder of a diplomatic passport issued by Dominica.

The diplomatic passport, lists Douglas’ nationality as Dominican.

Harris told a Town Hall meeting recently, that his matter raises a serious legal question as to whether or not the opposition leader is eligible to continue sitting as a parliament representative.

He noted that Douglas, who during his tenure as prime minister, opposed the idea of elected parliamentary representatives holding dual citizenship and, in 2009, played a role in bringing several pieces of legislation to Parliament that amended the National Assembly Elections Act, thereby reinforcing Section of the Constitution.

Article 6 (1) of the National Assembly Elections (Amendment) Act of 2009 states, in part that a person shall not be qualified to be elected or appointed as a member of the National Assembly if he or she (a) is, by virtue of his or her own act, under any acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience or adherences to a foreign power of state.

Harris has denied holding a similar passport issued by Dominica, though a purported copy has been widely circulated.

Trinidad

The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) based in Port of Spain, Trinidad said it is developing a strategic plan for the period 2018-2023, with stakeholder engagement being a top priority.

The CCJ, established in 2001 to replace the British Privy Council as the region’s final appellate court, said that the period for developing the new plan would include sensitization activities and opportunities for contributions and feedback from a wide range of internal and external stakeholders.

CCJ president Sir Dennis Byron said that the plan should be used as “a living, breathing roadmap for the CCJ operations.”

He noted that the last CCJ strategic plan provided information upon which “we were able to achieve many things, including the Curia court management system; live broadcasting of court hearings; and out ongoing employee engagement program.”

— Compiled by Azad Ali

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