Caribbean RoundUp

Antigua

Seaborne Airlines will resume non-stop service between the carrier’s hub in San Juan’s Luis Munoz Marin International Airport and VC Bird International Airport in Antigua and Barbuda next month.

The airline will operate four non-stop roundtrip flights per week.

As a result of the service passengers from over 30 destinations in the Americas and Europe will be able to reach Antigua with a single stop in San Juan, Puerto Rico through connections with Seaborne’s partner airlines, including American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Airlines.

Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Minister Asot Michael said the additional airlift is a plus for the destination as it prepares for a busy summer season, with visitors traveling to the island for its July27-August 8 Carnival.

Barbados

The Barbados government and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) have signed a US$34 million loan agreement to finance a project to use cleaner fuels and renewable energy in Barbados.

The agreement was signed by Finance Minister, Christopher Sinkler, and IDB representative, Juan Carlos De La Hoz Vina recently.

Sinkler said the program would be implemented over a six-year period and highlighted the components as; natural gas infrastructure; smart energy solutions and technical advisory services.

He said the program aims at enhancing Barbados’ energy security and sustainability by diversifying the energy mix through promoting the use of cleaner fuels, especially natural gas for power generation and increasing the use of renewable energy sources.

He added that the government wanted to increase energy efficiency/renewable energy applications with the National Petroleum Corporation and the Barbados National Oil Company Limited operations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Grenada

The Grenada government has passed a Hydrocarbon Exploration Incentive Bill, in parliament recently for oil exploration.

Leader of Government Business Gregory Bowen, who brought the legislation before the House, said the plan is to determine the existence of natural deposits of oil and gas as well as the quality and quantity.

He said investors who also have to bring in vehicles for work purposes will get duty concession on a maximum of six vehicles.

Government will be advocating for locals to be employed on rigs, for the period of exploration.

Guyana

The Guyana government has warned that it will clamp down on the illegal importation of shrimp and fish from its CARICOM neighbor, Suriname.

In a statement issued following a high level meeting with stakeholders, Minister of Agriculture, Noel Holder said the issue of illegal importation of shrimp “has been a cause for concern and one the relevant authorities have been tirelessly trying to address over the years.”

He spoke of the constraints which such an issue has posed on the local market adding that it has paved the way for “unfair competition.”

He said, “the smuggling of shrimp, fish and fish products in and out of the country affects us all. In addition, the smuggling of shrimp and fish into Guyana has the potential to generate many problems such as the introduction of pest and disease into our environment.”

Crime Chief, Wendell Blanhum, who has committed to ensuring stronger enforcement, said while it is important for the police to ensure compliance, it is also necessary for all the players involved to work together.

The statement said that new strategies will be implemented including the Ministry of Public Health and the Food and Drug Analysis Department.

Jamaica

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has said that the new national identification system (NIDS) to be facilitated under the National and Registration Bill, will only verify citizens’ identity in response to requests for information.

He said it will not share additional information with the person making the request, during the debate of the Bill in Parliament.

The prime minister explained that the staff of the new National and Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA), which will replace the Registrar General’s Department (RGD) will receive specialized training to ensure that they carry out their duties in keeping with the established security protocols and procedures.

Holness said the government is proposing stiff penalties for a breach of these protocols and procedures.

He noted that the establishment of the National Identification System will also allow for the generation of real-time statistical information for decision-making and planning.

Holness said that with the transformation of the RGD into the NIR, the agency will have responsibility for the functions of both civil registration (the functions currently performed by the RGD) and identity management, which is the task of the National Identification System.

St. Lucia

An estimated 2,000 hotel rooms will be established in St. Lucia over the next four years as a result of new properties being constructed.

This was revealed by Tourism Minister Dominic Fedee who said so far this year, the Royalton Saint Lucia Resort and Spa has opened its doors with 455 rooms and the Serenity Villas has also unveiled its 36 luxury villas and the Harbor is to open in September with 117 rooms.

Fedee told a news conference that work will being on the Fairmont Saint Lucia Resort in Choiseul, south-west of the capital, in September this year.

He said the resort will be a unique space that integrates local nature, a low-rise building complex and a wide range of recreational facilities. The hotel will include 120-five star hotel rooms, 37 villas, three restaurants, a spa, commercial areas for local producers and trader and three swimming pools.

Fedee said the Reduit Beach, north of Castries, will be redeveloped and will be the home of a five-star dual branded hotel called Curio by Hilton.

The tourism minister also announced that work should commence on the Honeymoon Bay Resort very soon.

Fedee said the Dubai-based Range Developments has signed an agreement with the St. Lucia government to acquire the St. Lucia Black Ban lands in Vieux Fort to develop it into an integrated master planned luxury touristic community.

Trinidad

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley met with residents in the deep South, whose homes were badly damaged by flood waters from Tropical Storm Bret, which lashed Trinidad and Tobago on the night of Monday, June 19, 3017.

Rowley told reporters he was concerned with those residents who had not been able to receive aid such as mattresses, dry food, water and houses which suffered damages to their roofs and structure.

However, he said those residents will have to wait until the floods subside before emergency teams can enter their communities.

Scores of communities in a number of rural areas remained under water up to nearly a week after the storm had passed.

Some affected residents say it was the worst flooding in 40 years.

Several people were marooned in their homes for days as the water began to slowly subside.

— compiled by Azad Ali

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