Caribbean RoundUp

In this Feb. 6, 2017 photo, Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez attends a news conference in Moscow, Russia. She recently provided an update to St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris, on the donation of 50 petrocasas (oil houses).
Associated Press / Pavel Golovkin, File

Barbados

Barbados Prime Minister Frenduel Stuart was recently made an honorary Fellow of Keble College, Oxford University, England.

A government statement said that Stuart has accepted the conferment of the Honorary Fellowship describing it as “an honor for Barbados and Barbadians.”

Keble College is one of the over 30 constituent colleges of Oxford University, founded in 1870 in memory of the late John Keble, a leading member of the theological “Oxford Movement”.

The Governing Body of the College is empowered to elect “distinguished persons” to Honorary Fellowships.

The conferral of an Honorary Fellowship is deemed foremost to be an honor and a privilege, for Honorary Fellows cannot vote at meetings of the Governing Body and receive no financial consideration.

Honorary Fellows have traditionally included former students and wardens, as well as others with no prior academic connection to the college.

Cuba

Cuba has agreed to an extension of the agreement on trade and economic cooperation which facilitates access to the Cuban market for hundreds of CARICOM products.

An official statement said that the issue was discussed at the fifth CARICOM-Cuba Ministerial meeting which was held in Havana recently.

According to the statement, the agreement provides for trade between the parties.

Last month, the Guyana-based CARICOM Secretariat said the 15-member regional integration movement had reached an agreement with Cuba on the expansion of preferential access to each other’s markets.

In a brief statement, the secretariat said that the agreement was reached during the 10th meeting of the Joint Commission established under the Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement between CARICOM and Cuba held in Guyana last month.

He said a significant number of items from the Community, including beef, fish, and other agricultural products and manufactured goods, have been approved for entry in the Cuban market duty free once both sides formalized the agreement.

CARICOM member states have agreed to grant duty-free access to Cuban goods, including pharmaceuticals.

Guyana

Guyana plans to export duty-free an estimated 150,000 tons of rice and paddy to Mexico by the end of the year.

The Ministry of Agriculture said that on March 1, 2017, the Mexican government authorized the importation of 150,000 tons of rice paddy duty-free from Guyana before the end of December.

Since 2015, Guyana has been trying to enter the Mexican market, following the collapse of the Venezuelan market,

Extension manager at the Guyana Rice Development Board Kuldip Ragnauth, said that rice paddy production will be higher this year.

He said the company has recorded 225,000 acres as opposed to 180,000 acres for the same period compared to last year.

Haiti

Thousands of Haitians from around the country recently gathered at City Park to pay their respects for former President Rene Preval’s state funeral ending six days of mourning for the man who led the country during the devastating January 2010 earthquake.

Mourners marched under the hot sun and chanted “long live Preval” as the roving traditional rara bands performed festival music at the Champo de Mars plaza in downtown Port-au-Prince, where Preval’s flag-draped casket was displayed.

Three former Haitian presidents — Michel Martely, Jocelerme Privert and Boniface Alexandre — attended the funeral along with foreign diplomats and representatives of international organizations.

Preval was the only democratically elected president to win and complete two terms in Haiti.

Jamaica

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is providing a US$5.75 loan to the JM Bank to finance housing projects in Jamaica.

The loan agreement was recently signed by the JN Bank, the IDB and the JN Foundation which will be provided to housing developers at single digit mortgage rates.

The loan is predicated to promote climate change resilience at the housing sector, by reducing water demand and improving water reliability. The financing is the first of its kind for the IDB.

St. Kitts

Venezuela is donating 50 “petrocasas” houses to St. Kitts and Nevis by President Nicholas Maduro’s government.

The “Petrocasas” are constructed from by-products of Venezuela’s oil refining industry. PVC panels are fitted together in a concrete base then filled with concrete, steel and iron girders to make the petrocasas.

The houses have three bedrooms, two bathrooms, living and dining room, a kitchen and a metallic tile roof.

The petrocasas can be assembled in about a week and cost close to 50 percent less than conventional homes.

Venezuela Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez, recently provided St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris, with an update on the donation of the petrocasas.

Raul Li Causi, Venezuela’s vice minister for the Caribbean, supported the foreign minister in the bilateral talks.

Last month, Harris said that the final element of his government’s housing development strategy will involve the installation of infrastructure (electricity, roads and water) at 69 already existing housing developments which cost around $70 million.

Trinidad

The Trinidad and Tobago revenue for the first quarter of this fiscal year has plunged by about 29 percent to TT$7.98 billion compared with $11.222 billion for the same period in the previous fiscal year.

This is according to data from the Central Bank’s March Economic Bulletin.

The bank indicated that the sharp fall in government revenues for the October to December 2016 period was due to a decline in both energy revenues and non-energy receipts.

Non-energy fell by 29.1 percent to $6.3 billion from $8.3 billion “largely on account of a significant fall off in no-tax revenue.”

T&T’s energy revenues declined by TT$283. 4 million, “primarily on account of lower domestic energy sector output, “according to the Economic Bulletin.

The Central Bank noted that the sharp declines in the sub-sectors of the local energy sector, with the weakness reflected in contractions in crude oil, natural gas, LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) and petrochemical production.

— compiled by Azad Ali

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