Caribbean RoundUp

Caribbean

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has added more Caribbean countries to its growing Zika virus travel alert list.

The Atlanta-based CDA added the Cayman Islands, Antigua and Barbuda and the Turks and Caicos Island to the temporary travel guidance related to the Zika virus in the Caribbean.

Turks and Caicos Island recently recorded five Zika cases.

Those previously included the Caribbean islands and territories of Barbados; Bonaire; Aruba; Curacao; French Guiana; Cuba; Dominica; Belize; IS Virgin Islands; Martinique, St. Vincent and the Grenadines: Guadeloupe; Puerto Rico; St. Martin; Dominican Republic; Anguilla; St. Maarten; St. Lucia; Grenada; Suriname; Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica.

In posting the latest travel alert for the Cayman Islands; Antigua and Barbuda; and the Turk and Caicos Islands, the CDC said it was working with other public health officials to monitor for ongoing Zika virus transmission.

The CDC said some travelers to areas with Zika will become affected while traveling, but will not become sick until they return home, adding that they might not have any symptoms.

Antigua

A probe has been launched into the break-in and theft at the private home of Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne at Hodges Bay.

While an investigation is underway the Antigua and Barbuda Defense Force (ABDF) has been removed from guarding the prime minister’s residence.

Reports are that six soldiers are being questioned by the officers of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

Prime Minister Browne and his family returned from a vacation in the Dominican Republic and found the house had been burglarized and laptops and Ipads missing, despite round-the-clock security by members of the security services.

Public Safety Minister Stedroy Benjamin said no stone would be left unturned as the authorities probe the break-in at the prime minister’s private residence at Hodges Bay, north of the capital, St. John.

Barbados

Former Chief Justice and former attorney general of Barbados Sir David Simmons does not believe hanging would help to reduce the level of crime in the island.

Instead, he has called for a scientific study to be conducted and for policies to be drafted based on the results.

He noted that crime in the region is at an all-time high adding that countries which never really had any serious crime to speak of are now reporting high levels of crime creating fear among the community.

Speaking on VOB 92.9 FM’s call-in-program Down to Brass Tacks recently, Sir David said crime is a social phenomenon that requires study, just like AIDS and the economy.

Having worked throughout the region, the former CJ said the level of crime in Barbados paled in comparison with neighbors like Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica.

Sir David said while studies have shown there was gang activity on the island, it was not on a large scale.

He warned that some of the local gangs had networks throughout the region.

Dominica

The Dominica government may be looking to hiring a foreign national as Commissioner of Police because it is dissatisfied with the level of policing on the island.

National Security Minister Rayburn Blackmoore said there was a need for police to have a presence on the streets of the island.

He was at the time speaking on the state-owned DBS Radio recently.

Blackmoore said the commissioner of police or the deputy commissioner of police has to take responsibility for the police force and “we are not ruling out making some changes from the top which may include bringing in somebody from overseas”.

He said the government “cannot continue getting excuses for not having uniforms, police presence in a sustained manner, especially around the city of Roseau”. Daniel Carbon was appointed police commissioner in December 2012.

Grenada

The Grenada government said it has been assisting its CARICOM neighbor, St. Vincent and the Grenadines with medication to deal with the Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) sickness which is linked to the mosquito-borne Zika virus.

Health Minister Nicholas Steele said that the shortage of medication was due to the fact that this is now an emerging disease and so the short supply on the market will see some countries out of stock.

Guillain-Barre disease affects the muscle and can evolve in paralysis.

Steele told reporters that three GBS patients are hospitalized at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the General Hospital, while one other person has died.

Health authorities say as part of a wider strategy to reduce the breeding of the Aedes ageypti mosquitoes, the Ministry of Health and the National Disaster Management Agency spearheaded a massive cleanup campaign throughout the island.

Guyana

Guyana has recorded a significant decline in its balance of trade deficit for the first six months of this year, as compared to the same period last year, according to figures released by the Ministry of Finance.

According to figures the deficit had been reduced by 92% and stood at US$19.1 million as against US$147. 2 million compared to that of US$519. 2 million for a similar period last year.

Gold export has doubled to US$309.7 million for the first six months of this year compared to US$188.3 million for the same period last year.

Despite exporting more bauxite, foreign exchange earned from this sector fell from US$53.3 million to US$46.3 million, as a result of world market prices for the commodity.

Guyana’s diamond exports attracted lower income despite a higher volume of export for the first six months of 206 compared to that of 2015.

Income from sugar declined from US$30.4 to US$20.8 million for the first half of this year — a decline of 31.4 percent.

Jamaica

Jamaica is set to reinstate the export of Red Stripe beer to the United States by the end of September.

The company announced that it has already hired an additional 50 employees and will take another 30 by the end of September in the areas of brewing, engineering, packing and logistics.

Red Stripe has invested over J$2.2 billion, in plant upgrades and increases in staff capacity as it looks forward to its first shipment next month.

Among the upgrades to its production facilities, in preparation for the historic milestone in the life of the brewing giant, were the modernization of the brewery, the installation of a combined heat and power plant, the commissioning of a new 12-pack machine and the complete overhaul of the existing packaging line.

St. Kitts

A three-member delegation from the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) recently met with members of the St. Kitts and Nevis government to discuss further improvements of the cruise tourism sector.

Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris welcomed the delegation, which included the President of FCCA Michele Paige and Carlos Torres de Navarra, vice –president commercial port operations at Carnival Cruise Line to the Cabinet Room at Government Headquarters.

The FCCA and the Cabinet engaged in discussions surrounding visitor experience impact, the role of independent operators, range of product offerings, the economic impact in relation to cruise and stay over visitors.

Minister of Tourism, Lindsay Grant speaking at a forum with FCCA and stakeholders said the ministry of tourism is fully cognizant of the challenges that lie ahead and “we embrace the recommendations from the FCCA, with a commitment to working in partnership with all stakeholder to facilitate the development of a sustainable and even more prosperous tourism cruise sector”.

Trinidad

There is still no official word on the nine Trinidad nationals who were detained in Turkey while on their way to fight for the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group.

This was revealed by T&T National Security Minister Edmund Dillion who said the government has not received any official conformation although requests have been made through diplomatic channels.

Earlier this month, Turkish newspaper The Daily Sabah reported that nine T&T nationals are expected to soon be deported to Trinidad and Tobago from Turkey.

The newspaper reported that Turkish authorities had thwarted an attempt to smuggle nine T&T nationals from southern Turkey to ISIS in Syria and that a Syrian man was held in connection with the operation.

-Compiled by Azad Ali

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