Caribbean RoundUp

Grenada

A United States-based company will invest US$58 million in the Grenada tourism industry under the island’s Citizenship by Investment Program (CIP).

The five-star Kimpton Kawana Bay Resort, due to open in 2019, will comprise 110 luxury studio rooms and 45 suites and 12 additional penthouse apartments, which will be available for sale to private owners.

San Francisco-based Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, which will manage the new venture, has about 60 properties throughout the United States and the Cayman Islands.

Speaking at the launch of the project, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell defended the CIP program under which several Caribbean countries provide citizenship to foreign investors in return for a significant contribution to the socio-economic development of the island.

Mitchell said that the CIP is all about bringing investment to the country and not just about selling passports.

Guyana

The CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with UN-Women Group to support the Community’s work on gender equality and empowerment.

The signing took place during the official opening of the 39th meeting of the Community Council of Ministers in Georgetown.

The MoU on general equality and the empowerment of women includes collaboration in the provision of Caribbean-wide data, statistics, and analysis on the implementation of the gender dimensions of the sustainable development goals.

Caricom Secretary General Irwin LaRocque in his remarks thanked the UN system for its continuing role in assisting member states’ development and in advancing the work of the secretariat.

Jamaica

Prime Minister Andrew Holness recently paid a historic three-day official visit (Jan.12-15) to Israel as part of his administration’s ongoing commitment to seek opportunities through bilateral relations with various countries.

A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said that Holness was due to meet with Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu and the two leaders will discuss areas of potential cooperation on growth and economic development between both countries, such as security, agriculture, water resource management and Diaspora bonds.

The statement said meetings were scheduled with key Israeli officials and members of the private sector.

Haiti

Canada has fired 12 employees at its Haiti embassy who are accused of being involved in various fraud schemes which have estimated government losses of US$1.7 million.

Spokeswoman for Global Affairs Canada, Jocelyn Sweet, a government agency that leads humanitarian assistance, manages diplomatic and consular business, said the probe which began in 2015 revealed that embassy staff set up “various fraud schemes” that inflated invoices and resulted in the theft of property.

She said an administrative probe is ongoing to review the behavior of Canadian staffers at the Port-au-Prince embassy.

Audits have been launched in other “high fraud-risk” areas to determine where other similar corrupt activities could be taking place at other embassies abroad.

St. Kitts

Baroness Joyce Anelya, minister of state for the Commonwealth and the United Nations and a delegation of high level British officials recently paid a visit to St. Kitts and Nevis to discuss the potential implications of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union.

Among other matters discussed were cooperation in the area of public safety and security, prison reform, and human rights issues.

By the end of March 2017, the UK government intends to invoke Article 50 of the European Union treaty, which is the formal procedure for withdrawal from the EU. This follows a referendum which was held on June 23, 2016, in which 52 percent of British voters were in favor of leaving the EU.

Despite this move, Harris believes the UK will continue to be a strong partner with St Kitts and Nevis

During the meeting, Baroness Anelay reassured Prime Minister Timothy Harris of her government’s continued relationship with St Kitts and Nevis.

St. Vincent

St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves is not in support of the economic citizenship programs being implemented by some member states of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

He has reiterated that his country’s citizenship is not for sale.

The prime minister noted that the highest office in the land is that of a citizen, higher than prime minister and higher than the governor general.

However, former St. Kitts and Nevis prime minister Denzil Douglas denies that the Citizenship by Investment Program (CIP) represents the selling of citizenship.

Douglas said the country’s citizenship for St. Kitts and Nevis was definitely not for sale.

He said the St. Kitts program was an economic development program, an investment program that invited persons to invest in the country and no one was really selling the passport.

St. Lucia

The Community Relations Branch (CRB) of the Royal St. Lucia Police Service has warned it will be cracking down on schoolchildren who carry weapons and drugs in their school bags.

Police said during 2015 and 2016 they seized 47 knives, including penknives, five cutlasses, 46 scissors, nine screwdrivers, and lighters were discovered along with marijuana sticks, 13 five-bag portions of the herb and foil wraps of cocaine.

Police said these drugs and weapons are increasingly being confiscated from the bags of the nation’s students.

The offenders were, however, spared of prosecutions and placed in rehabilitative programs coordinated by their schools.

Police would soon be rolling out a crime prevention initiative dubbed “School Crime Watch.”

Trinidad

The Trinidad and Tobago government has come up with several initiatives in wake of the high levels of crime and lawlessness which has seen 28 murders committed within the first three weeks of January 2017.

National Security Minister Edmund Dillon reiterated government’s concern with the levels of crime in the country and its commitment to tackle the problem in a coordinated, multi-faceted approach involving all arms of National Security.

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley said the government is about to initiate a manpower resources audit in the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service.

He said one of the government’s measures in its attack on crime is to focus on the quality of Police Service personnel and the question of accountability.

The prime minister said the government will leave no stone unturned to help the Police Service become better and in a more responsible manner.

Dr. Rowley said the government had spent a significant sum in helping the police in the area of information gathering.

The government has come under pressure for the escalating murder rate, which has already reached 28 in the first 16 days of the New Year. Last year there were 462 homicides.

— compiled by Azad Ali

More from Around NYC

>