The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) says that no amount of pressure will lead the regional grouping to turn its back on troubled Venezuela, even as least four member states break ranks on the issue.
The matter came up for discussion during the regional foreign ministers 20th meeting of the CARICOM Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) which took place in Barbados recently.
Outgoing COFOR chairman Sir Louis Straker speaking to reporters after the two-day meeting played down disagreement raised by St. Lucia, Guyana, Jamaica and The Bahamas, saying CARICOM would not abandon Venezuela in its time of need.
Sir Louis who is St. Vincent and the Grenadines deputy prime minister and foreign affairs minister and regional integration said there might be one or two countries that may not go along with the grouping, but overwhelmingly, CARICOM is in support of Venezuela.
He noted that the Bolivarian Republic “has been pro-CARICOM and has done more for CARICOM than some of the big powers and they should stand by Venezuela”.
Sir Louis claimed that some within the Organization of American States (OAS) were pushing for the Nicholas Maduro government to step down, CARICOM must take a strong stance on the matter.
He told reporters there was nothing happening in Venezuela that requires a fact finding mission.
Recently, the Caribbean Chapter of the International Network in Defense of Humanity called on CARICOM leaders to send a mission to Caracas for “an informed analysis” about the state of affairs there.
The Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) recently held a meeting of the Council of Ministers-Foreign Affairs (COMFA), in Barbados under the chairmanship of Charles Fernandez, minister of foreign affairs, international trade and immigration of Antigua and Barbuda.
The meeting took place against the backdrop of dramatic changes taking place at the global, hemispheric and regional levels, and addressed several issues covering a wide range of matters of critical import to member states.
These included the participation of the OECS in regional and international settings, relation with the United Kingdom and the European Union post Brexit, relations with the European Union post 2020, the status and future of the ACP, CELAC as a platform for engagement and development of institutional capacity in international relations and diplomacy within member states.
The Citizenship by Investment (CDI) specialist and developer Montreal Management Consultants Est. (MMCE) is funding a school feeding program for hundreds of children in Dominica.
MMCE is paying for healthy snacks and lunches to primary school children on the island to prevent mothers keeping their children away from school due to the lack of proper school meals.
The program is being facilitated by the Melissa Skerrit Foundation, which has been set up to improve the lives of disadvantaged communities across Dominica and a restaurant in Roseau. The meals are sent to their school teachers to distribute.
There are existing school feeding programs on the island, supported by the government of Dominica and the Japan International Cooperation Agency where meals are prepared at the schools and provided to the kids.
The MMCE program supplies additional nutrition, including pancakes, chocolate milk, fresh local juice, sandwiches, hot dogs and launches.
The United States Department of the Treasury’s Internal Revenue Service (IRS)– Criminal Investigation recently hosted a financial investigative techniques workshop in Grenada to assist police and financial intelligence units across the Eastern Caribbean to better identify, assess and pursue financial investigations.
The training was conducted by the IRS’s National Criminal Investigation Training Academy with assistance from the United States Embassy in Barbados and its International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs section.
The training was part of a continuing series of efforts by the United States government, in collaboration with Grenada and other partner governments in the region, to enhance financial investigations and raise awareness of illicit financial transactions.
The course included methods of identifying fraud and money laundering and covered topics such as evidence gathering and analysis, interviewing, preparation for courtroom activities and an in-depth practical exercise.
A report by The Carter Center in the USA has recommended that prisoners should be allowed to vote when the next general comes around.
The report which was released on May 11, 2015 elections made several recommendations to the government, the Parliament and the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) among them it called for the rights of prisoners to vote to be respected, and also highlighted the slow pace of delivery of justice.
The Carter Center election observation mission was launched about a month ahead of the vote — April 8 — following an invitation from the Office of the President and was led by former United States President Jimmy Carter.
Observers were deployed throughout the country in advance of Election Day, on the day itself, and also stayed on to observe the post-election environment.
The report said that Guyana should seek to facilitate voting by prisoners, particularly those held in remand, who have not yet been convicted of a crime.
In the report, the Carter Center reiterated its call for fundamental constitutional reform to reduce the problems with the current winner-take-all-system.
An international developer focusing on luxury hotel projects in the Caribbean, Range Developments recently signed an agreement with the St. Lucia government to continue the development of the Black Bay Master Development.
The Black Bay Development will consist of a luxury branded hotel and villas on 180 acres in the beautiful southern tip of the island.
The site is on the Caribbean southwest coast, within easy reach of the international airport and Pitons, the world famous heritages site.
The project will create about 500 jobs on the island during the construction, with a similar amount once the hotel is operational.
St. Lucia’s citizenship by investment program is aimed at encouraging investment in the island.
Investors not only have a chance to invest, but assuming they meet the stringent requirements to apply for citizenship of the country, with all benefits of full citizenship.
Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley told a delegation from the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in Santiago, Chile last week, that the commission has a role to play in T&T’s move towards diversification.
According to a statement from the Office of the Prime Minister, Dr. Rowley said Trinidad and Tobago is experiencing economic shock because of the reduction in reserves from the hydrocarbon sector.
He said when this happens there is a clamor for diversification.
“The question now is can we preserve that quality of life with our current revenues and our current policies. This is where we would like ECLAC to assist us with their research as we move to expand our economic base,” he added.
The prime minister who was on a two-day visit to Chile with a delegation said Trinidad and Tobago said Trinidad and Tobago has the ability to produce more goods and services that its population can absorb “and it is therefore, imperative that we look towards other markets.”
— compiled by Azad Ali