Caribbean RoundUp

Antigua

A 35-year-old French national was fined EC$4,000 after he pleaded guilty to causing a bomb scare on a LIAT flight at the VC Bird International Airport, Antigua recently.

Francois Renaud Boisneuf, 35, who was returning to the French Caribbean Island of Guadeloupe from Barbados where he had attended the Crop Over Festival, used the word “bomb” and “terrorist” when he was repeatedly asked by the flight attendant for his boarding pass.

The flight attendant reported the matter to the captain and the police were called in resulting in the aircraft being checked out.

The plane with 69 passengers on board then departed for Guadeloupe after a long period.

When Boisneuf appeared in court before Magistrate Conliffe Clarke, he pleaded guilty to the offence and was fined EC$4,000 or six months in prison.

Bahamas

A call has been made for the Bahamas government to open a Sex Offenders Registry and Marco Alert system for missing children.

It has come from a non-profit group — Solidarity 242- some five years after the murder of an 11-year-old boy, Marco Archer — a tragedy that called for the Sex Offenders Registry.

In October 2013, Kofhe Goodman was sentenced to death for abducting, kidnaping and murdering Archer.

Co-founder of Solidarity 242, Kishlane Knowles said there are no Sex Offenders Registry, and no Marco Alert.

He said; “Our children are being left vulnerable and we as Bahamians have to push back and demand that the government does its part in protecting our children.”

In 2013, Freeport said the loss of five young boys, all of whom went missing and were murdered.

In June 2015, Minister of Social Services Melanie Griffin revealed in her 2015 / 2016 budget contribution that there had been an increase in the reported cases of sexual abuse and incest incidents involving children.

The Solidarity 242 group is urging Bahamians to join an online protest to pressure the government to set up a Sex Offenders Registry.

Barbados

Barbados has recorded a 1.3 percent economic growth for the first six months of this year, compared to no growth a year ago, according to figures released by the Central Bank of Barbados (CBB).

CBB Governor Dr. DeLisle Worrell said this was a slight deceleration from the first quarter, mainly on account of unexpected delays in major tourism investment projects.

In terms of the outlook, Dr. Worrell said the reduced growth projection was “mainly because most major investment projects are behind schedule.”

He noted that the main impact of the recent fall in the value of sterling may well be on the sales of villas and second homes to United Kingdom residents, adding the growth rate could be higher if investments in tourism and alternative energy can be speeded up.

Dominica

The Dominica government has received a EC$25 million loan from the Agricultural Industrial and Development Bank (AIDB) to help develop the agriculture and tourism sectors.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit speaking at the recent signing ceremony said that at least 17 properties will benefit from the EC$15 million set aside for the tourism sector.

He said construction jobs would be created but some of the properties are also expanding and enhancing their ability to compete and become competitive much better than they are doing now.

The prime minister also said he is hoping that the facility will lead to more sustainable jobs in the economy, adding, “the terms and conditions of this loan are exceptional.”

The EC$15 million dollars from the proceeds of the Citizenship by Investment Program (CIP) will be made available for on-lending to the hotel sector to finance the upgrading and expansion of existing hotels and restaurants.

The interest rate for such loans stands at three percent with a grace period of one year.

The government also said that the EC$10 million loan facility being made available to farmers primarily to address their need for working capital, will also allow them access to capital for investment in facilities.

Guyana

The Guyana government said it would repay the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) an estimated Guy$6.6 billion it lost as a result of the collapse of the Trinidad-based Colonial Life Insurance Company (CLICO) in 2009.

Finance Minister Winston Jordan told a news conference that Cabinet had agreed to the pay-out through non-negotiable government debenture certificates over a 20-year-period at a fix interest rate of 1.5 percent on the principal sum of Guy$4.8 billion.

He said the possibility of NIS recouping the money that was owed by CLICO was highly unlikely.

Jordan said NIS and its beneficiaries were suffering as a consequence and reminded the public of a 2009 Parliamentary resolution which had urged the government to do what it must to get back the money.

Payments are expected to begin in January 2017 and by the year 2027, calculations will show that the NIS will receive a total of Guy$5.651 billion.

Jamaica

The Jamaica government says more than 250,000 workers will benefit from the first phase in the income tax threshold.

Finance Minister Audley Shaw is encouraging Jamaicans to spend the money responsibly.

He told the House of Representatives that the estimated 251,800 pay as you earn (PAYE) workers have benefitted from the increase in the personal income tax threshold from $592,800 to Ja$1,000,272, which took effect on July 1, this year.

The government said the second phase takes effect on April 1, 2017 and will see the personal income tax threshold moving to JA$1,500,096.

Shaw said this phase of the tax reform plan is a signal to the Jamaican people that the Andrew Holness government, which came into power last February promising tax cuts, wants to put more money into their pockets while expecting, in return, higher levels of personal productivity at their workplace.

St. Vincent

Veteran diplomat, Ambassador Ellsworth John has been appointed St. Vincent and the Grenadines Ambassador to Cuba.

The announcement was made by Foreign Affairs Minister Sir Louis Straker, who said John, the island’s second ambassador to the United States will replace Dexter Rose, who served in Havana for the past 11 years.

John previously served as the Ambassador to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), is also a former ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS) and head of the Regional Integration and Diaspora Unit.

John will take up his new assignment with immediate effect.

Other appointments announced were that of Howie Prince replacing Selman Waters, the consul general in New York, while Chief Education Officer, Lou-Ann Gilchrist will become the island’s new ambassador to the United States.

St. Lucia

The St. Lucia National Trust (SLNT) has expressed concern over the decision of the authorities to include the Mankote Mangrove within the boundaries of the multi-million dollar “Pearl of the Caribbean” project with the High Kong-based Desert Star Holdings (DSH).

Recently the Allan Chastanet administration in a statement indicated to have been alerted “to many comments, queries and concerns expressed views that have been circulating in the media since the July 29 announcement of the proposed US$2.6 billion integrated project.”

In its statement, the SLNT said it had taken note of the agreement for the major development labeled as “The Pearl of the Caribbean,” in Vieux Fort, south of the capital Castries.

It said it has received several enquiries from diverse interests, including “from our members, on its views on the project, given both its scope and location, which encompass one of the most diverse and archaeologically and resource- rich areas of St. Lucia.”

The SLNT is promising to engage the public and private sector “to gain further insights into its scope and potential economic, social and environmental impacts.” The government said that it welcomes any questions and scrutiny over the project.

-Compiled by Azad Ali

More from Around NYC