Caribbean RoundUp

Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Alphonso Browne addresses the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016.
Associated Press / Jason DeCrow


Public outcry and condemnation by the main Opposition United Progressive Party (UPP) has forced Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne to scrap a proposed plan to give investors permission to build a gun-assembly plant in the proposed Economic Zone on the island.

The prime minister announced on Radio Observer that he had instructed the attorney general to scrap the deal.

Browne had called the radio station earlier in the afternoon and confirmed that the plan was going ahead.

But scores of residents called the radio station to criticize the prime minister for agreeing to the gun factory.

The prime minister claimed that he was not on the island when the decision was made in Cabinet to set up the gun manufacturing plant in Antigua, for export.

He agreed that it was a risk and it was in the best interest of the nation to scuttle the deal.

The UPP in a release said this reflects the “scant regard that the Gaston Browne administration places on the safety of the residents of the country through a proposal to establish a gun assembly plant in Antigua and Barbuda.”


The new Bahamas Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis has sent a warning of immediate dismissal as a consequence of “unethical” behavior from Cabinet ministers and permanent secretaries.

This includes 12 ministers and three ministers of state.

Dr. Minnis told the persons who attended his swearing in ceremony recently that the government will be marked by “order and punctuality.”

He noted that his administration was one of less talk and more action.

Dr. Minnis promised to hold ministers to the highest standards of ethical conduct in performance of their duties.

He also warned his ministers that if they should engage in any unsavory or unethical requests to the permanent secretaries and he finds out they would be fired immediately.

The new appointees include Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest and Attorney General Carl Bethel who were also sworn in.


Barbados Finance Minister Chris Sinkler was dismissive of a suggestion from the governor of the Central Bank Cleviston Haynes to approach the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in a bid to safeguard the local currency.

Sinkler told Barbados Today that while the economy “is not doing well at the moment,” he is yet to see the logic in approaching the international lending agency.

He said even if the government went to the IMF it was unlikely that any tangible benefits would be realized within the next six months.

The minister said he was looking forward to the economic review by the Haynes on the country’s first quarter economic performance.


A DNA registry has been opened in Jamaica which will make it easier for police to positively identify perpetrators of crime.

National Security Minister Robert Montague in making this announcement said the DNA science will enable police to rely less on fingerprinting to guarantee a positive identification.

He noted that government has invested in the Institute of Forensic Sciences and Legal Medicine and more equipment and more pathologists will be available in the all-out war on crime.

Montague said this new technology and advancements are allowing the police to prepare better cases and enhance their intelligence gathering.

The minister said the DNA will now tie suspects to the crime scene and ensure there is no more escaping on a technicality.

St. Kitts

The St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris said the two economic citizens who are alleged to have defrauded state institutions to the tune of US$100 million no longer have legitimate St. Kitts and Nevis passports.

He told a press conference recently that the St. Kiss-Nevis government is actively investigating the matter surrounding the economic citizens of Chinese descent, who applied for and obtained St. Kitts and Nevis citizenship in 2013 during the tenure of the Denzil Douglas administration and have been living in the Federation since 2014.

The former Douglas government had granted the St. Kitts and Nevis passports with their country of origin concealed.

St. Lucia

The CARICOM Cannabis Commission will soon hold meetings in St. Lucia to hear the views of St. Lucians on the subject of marijuana.

Spokesman for the local Cannabis Movement, Andre Pancho Decaries said the commission wants a wide-cross section of views on marijuana use.

He said there are scores of people in the country who are concerned about changing the laws and their views should be heard.

Decaries said politicians are avoiding taking a clear position on marijuana out of concern for the political future.

He believes that St Lucia is in a great position to capitalize on the economic benefits of marijuana growth.

The commission was established to determine whether there should be a change in the current drug classification of marijuana thereby making the drug more accessible for all types of usage including religious, recreational and medical research.


The Trinidad and Tobago government has failed in its bid to have the Appeal Court overturn an injunction to stop the process of the Property Tax which was due to go into effect in June.

Justice Frank Seepersad granted an injunction restraining the government from implementing the tax until the judicial review matter is heard on May 31, 2017.

Attorney Anand Ramlogan SC who is appearing on behalf of Devant Maharaj is contending that the enforcement of the property tax in its current form and the requirement of citizens to file Valuation Return Forms are illegal, unconstitutional and ultra vires.

The state rushed to appeal the decision of Justice Seepersad, which was heard two days later in the Appeal Court in Port of Spain.

The three judges said there was no urgency to hear the matter and adjourned the case to June 6, 2017.

— compiled by Azad Ali

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