Caribbean RoundUp

The Argyle International Airport in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
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Antigua

The Antigua and Barbuda government will be moving at full speed in the fight against crime in 2017.

Attorney General Steadroy Benjamin in his end-of-the-year press briefing warned criminals that the government will flush them out and prosecute them in an effort to keep the crime rate down.

He warned them that “if you commit crime, then you will pay the time, if you make life unsafe, you will be sought after and prosecuted.”

Benjamin said the government is determined to create a safe and secure environment and to ensure that all persons who seek to engage in criminal activity will be met with the full brunt of the law.

Bahamas

Bahamas will host the Ninth Inter-American Meeting of Ministers of Education from Feb. 9 – 10 this year at the Atlantis Resort, Paradise Island.

Among the issues to be discussed would be regional developments and challenges in education.

The ministers will also chart a way forward for the 34 representatives of the Organization of American States (OAS), and observer states, during the ministerial forum.

Conference Chairman, Jerome K Fitzgerald, who is also the Bahamas’ Minister of Education, Science and Technology said ministers of education from the OAS will gather in The Bahamas to discuss the Education Gender of the 34-member countries by extension the Latin American and Caribbean region.

He said The Bahamas has made significant progress in education and it has been at the helm of the global discussion on education.

The meeting is jointly organized by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, the OAS, the Inter-American Council for Integral Development and the Inter-American Committee on Education.

Barbados

Barbados recorded a 1.1 percent decline in its unemployment rate for the third quarter of 2016.

Official figures released recently showed that the unemployment rate for July to September 2016 stood at 10.2 percent down from 11.3 percent recorded for the same period in 2015.

The statistics derived from the Continuous Household Labor Force Survey, the unemployment rate among males stood at 9.7 percent and 10.8 percent among females.

In the review period, the number of persons employed totaled 132,100; of whom 66,400 were males and 65,700 were females. The total number of unemployed persons stood at 15,100; 7,100 males and 8,000 females.

In total, the number of persons in the labor force stood at 147,200.

During the third quarter in 2016 the Wholesale & Retail Trade Sector generated jobs for the largest number of persons, employing 22,400, whole the Accommodation & Food Services Sector employed 16,500.

The Construction, Mining and Quarrying Sector generated employment for 14,100, while 9,500 were employed in the manufacturing Sector.

Guyana

The Guyana government recently launched a National Drug Strategy Master Plan to combat the illicit drug use and trafficking.

Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan told the ceremony that the figures coming out of the drug use in a school survey tells a worrying story.

He said the plan which will run until 2020 will “reduce drugs in the community and minimize the harm that they cause to individual users and the community at large.”

The main objectives of the plan include the reduction of demand and supply of illicit drugs; providing treatment options; institutional strengthening and policy coordination to respond to drug use; and strengthening international cooperation.

Ramjattan said the plan will undertake research to improve intervention and control, as well as monitoring the drug threat.

Haiti

Several suspected cases of cholera in Haiti increased sharply from 2,377 in September to 4,980 in October in 2016.

The rise is being blamed on Hurricane Matthew, which struck the impoverished country during October.

Some 48 percent of these new cases were reported in the areas of Grand Anse and the South.

In November, the situation in areas affected by Matthew improved, with a 25 percent decrease in the number of suspected cases between October and November, from 2,400 to 1,800 suspected cases.

From January to November 2016 there were 39,439 new cases of cholera compared to the same period in 2015 and 420 new deaths, compared with the same period in 2015, health officials reported.

From October 2010 to November 2016, there have been 801,000 cases and 9,408 deaths from cholera.

Jamaica

A Jamaican woman has been awarded J$4million in compensation following a blood transfusion mistake at the University of the West Indies Hospital (UWI) 10 years ago.

In March 2006, Barbara Wright was accidentally given a blood transfusion with the wrong blood type.

She later sued the hospital claiming that she suffered both physical and mental injuries and hypertension.

She was supported by medical reports from two psychiatrists, which stated she needed future therapy in order to cope with the side effects.

While the hospital admitted liability, the institution challenged the amount of money being sought for compensation

The Supreme Court found that Wright did suffer mental and physical injuries. In handing down the award, the court also made provisions for her future medical expenses.

St. Vincent

The long-awaited Argyle International Airport in St. Vincent will open on Feb. 14, 2017 — five years behind schedule.

The announcement was made by Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves who said the airport will be opened on Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day- the day of love.

He said that the date of Feb. 14 had been hinted on social media and he held a meeting with all the stakeholders to make sure it was the right date.

There is speculation that the first commercial flight into the airport would be a chartered flight.

It is understood that regional carrier LIAT and Amerijet, an American cargo airline, will service the new airport while the government works out details to continue to woo other carriers.

The EC$729 million airport has missed construction deadlines annually since 2011 and has been a major issue in the 2005, 2010, and 2015 general elections.

St. Lucia

Six people were killed recently in various incidents in St. Lucia, prompting Prime Minister Allen Chastanet to summon a meeting of top police officers

The first murder was that of an unidentified man at Grand Rivere, Corinth, a community about four miles east of the capital, Castries.

The stabbing took place just hours after two men, identified as Gillian Charles, 37, and Dequan Joseph, 16, were shot dead at Jacmel, a west coast community, while a third was seriously injured and taken to hospital.

The third victim Kyle Richards later succumbed to his injuries at hospital.

Chastanet recently told reporters that criminals were the enemies of St. Lucia and he would meet with the Royal St. Lucia Police Force and officials from the Social and Family Development “to see how best we can deal with this alarming situation.”

Trinidad

Trinidad and Tobago oil company Petrotrin averted a major strike which could have disrupted the country.

After 30 hours of reconciliation talks with the Labor Minister Jennifer Baptiste, Petrotrin President Fitzroy Harewood and officials of the Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU) last Monday the union decided to accept a five percent wage offer and pulled back the strike which was already started.

The increase in the workers’ wages which will be applied immediately will cost the company TT$80 million annually.

The company had offered the workers 0/0/0 percent over the three-year-period (2011-2014).

— compiled by Azad Ali

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