Caribbean RoundUp

Antigua

Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne is moving to implement its recently announced policy on diplomatic representation and accreditation.

He said Cabinet based its policy on recommendations prepared by Sir Ronald Sanders, ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda to the USA and his team who together have over 60 years of practical diplomatic experience in several capitals and international organizations.

The Global Investor Immigration Council (GIIC) had also submitted its guidelines to the Antigua and Barbuda government.

The GIIC places a strong emphasis on increased transparency and accountability of diplomatic appointments of naturalized citizens.

Browne said his government is determined that “Antigua and Barbuda’s system and practices with regard to its citizenship by investment program and the issuance of passports, including diplomatic ones, which must be among the best in the world.”

Bahamas

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has invited the Grand Bahamas Human Rights Association (GBHRA) to participate in high level regional consultations on the development of its 2017-2010 strategic plans.

IACHR has asked representatives from select NGOs across the region to evaluate the proposals for the plan, and to help generate a more democratic and transparent culture within the IACHR, which is the human rights arm of the Organization of American States (OAS).

The GBHRA secretary Paco Nunez said; “we are thrilled that such an important regional body has invited us to take part in these crucial consultations. It demonstrates that our work in The Bahamas is being recognized and appreciated by the international community.”

In addition to the consultations sessions, delegates will take part in a workshop on the Inter-American Human Rights System and the Right to Freedom of Expression, to be led by the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression.

Delegates will also attend the launch of the new report on Afro-descendants, by Commissioner Margarete May Macaulay Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons of African descent and against Racial Discrimination.

The event will take place this month in Kingston, Jamaica.

Barbados

Virgin Atlantic is set to launch the only direct flight from London Heathrow to Barbados. The twice-weekly service will take place on Dec. 12, 2017 to help make the Christmas in the Caribbean a reality for even more holidaymakers.

The new flights will operate on Tuesdays and Saturdays as part of the winter 2017 schedule using an Airbus A330, the airline said.

This new service means that Virgin Atlantic will offer up to 11 Barbados flights per week from three UK airports (Gatwick, Manchester and Heathrow).

Heathrow-Barbados will become Virgin Atlantic’s sixth new service to launch in 2017 with flights to Seattle, Boston, New York and San Francisco launching in spring 2017.

The British airline said it has seen strong demand for its Upper Class and Premium Economy cabins on Barbados flights and it took the opportunity to utilize an A330.

Dominica

The Dominica government says it will immediately implement a new policy to appoint persons to serve as diplomats as the country tighten the system surrounding its controversial Citizenship by Investment Program (CBI).

In a recent radio and television broadcast, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said while he has already acknowledged the regret “at the unfortunate turn of events with respect to a few persons holding diplomatic passports” his administration “is mindful however that more can and must be done, to eliminate as far as possible any scandal in respect of persons chosen to represent our interest abroad.”

Under the CBI, foreign investors are given citizenship of the country in return for substantive investment in the socio-economic development of Dominica.

Some of these investors are in some instances, appointed diplomats of the country overseas.

Guyana

The United Nations has appointed Dag Halvor Nylander of Norway as the new envoy to try and resolve Guyana’s border dispute with Venezuela.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he was also prepared to turn to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to settle the long-standing issue.

Last month, United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Nylander was appointed to help broker the settlement “until the end of 2017, with a strengthened mandate of mediation.”

He said if no progress is made by the end of 2017, Guterres “will choose the International Court of Justice as the next means of settlement unless the governments of Guyana and Venezuela jointly request that he refrain from doing so.”

St. Vincent

St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves has expressed disappointment that the private sector has not shown a greater interest in the construction of the Argyle International Airport (AIA)

He told a recent news conference that his government had hoped the private sector would have funded and managed the cargo terminal of the AIA which was recently opened.

But he said the government decided to do so in the light of the lack of interest. He had also urged the private sector to invest more in hotel rooms in the country, which currently has about 2,200 rooms of various standards.

The prime minister noted that most of the hotel rooms are to be found on the island of Bequia and St. Vincent which has about 40-50 percent occupancy on an annual basis.

Gonsalves said his government had given more concessions for hotels than any other government in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Trinidad

The Trinidad and Tobago government has been sued by a Trinidad-born, UK-based gay rights advocate Jason Jones over the country’s ban on the entry of gays under immigration laws.

The claim was filed in the Port of Spain High Court.

Jones, 33, is asking the court to ensure that the discipline of law and constitutionality enshrined in the freedoms are formalized and normalized to protect the human rights of all citizens.

In a statement, Jones said he grew up in Port of Spain and faced almost daily homophobic bullying and threats of violence because he was gay.

He said he has the opportunity now to help his fellow LGBT Trinbagonian citizens find an equal place in T&T.

Jones said it is important that the country ensures that constitutional freedoms are protected as T&T has signed and ratified specific international human rights agreements.

He is the second gay rights advocate to challenge the local laws as it relates to the exclusion of homosexuals.

— compiled by Azad Ali

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