Caribbean RoundUp

Caribbean

CARICOM leaders were expected to sign an agreement to officially launch the Caribbean Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE) during the Heads of Government Meeting in Guyana.

The CCREEE was first inaugurated in October 2015.

This was revealed by Devon Gardner, program manager at the CARICOM Secretariat. He said the issue of renewable energy is being taken seriously by CARICOM leaders.

In May, Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley attended the U.S.-Caribbean Central American Energy Security Summit in Washington D.C and told leaders that given the “enormous scale” of resources in the region, renewable energy should be contributing more to the energy needs and increasing prospects of energy security.

Gardner said funding of renewable energy products continues to be a challenge to achieve CARICOM’s renewable energy targets successfully, US$30 billion in required.

He said CARICOM countries are “financially stressed” and funding does not exist in the public sector, so it should be taken from international funding agencies.

Antigua

The Antigua and Barbuda government has indicated that the construction of a new Beaches Hotel by Sandals Resorts International (SRI), on the site of Halcyon Cove by Rex Resort will be on the table when the two parties meet for negotiations.

According to the Minister of Information Melford Nicholas the government is actively seeking to increase the number of available hotel rooms in the twin-island state, in order to advance the tourism state.

He said it is still the intention of the government to support the economic expansion of Sandals — the acquisition of the Halcyon Hotel (for) the Beaches Resort is something the government is very much interested in.

Nicholas added that during the upcoming negotiations, the government would seek to resume those negotiations with the principals of the Sandals group.

Barbados

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said climate change is expected to increase the intensity and frequency of droughts in the Caribbean, so countries in the region must enhance their capabilities to deal with this and other extreme weather-related challenges to ensure food security and hunger extradition.

The FAO said in a new report, “Drought Characteristics and Management in the Caribbean” that the Caribbean region faces significant challenges in terms of drought.

Deep Ford, FAO regional coordinator in the Caribbean said drought ranks as the single most common cause of severe food shortage in developing countries, so this is a key issue for Caribbean food security.

The FAO noted that the Caribbean region already experiences drought-like events every year, with low water availability often impacting on agriculture and water resources, and a significant number of bush fires.

According to the FAO the Caribbean region accounts for seven of the world’s top 36 water-stressed countries, with one of them — Barbados — in the top 10.

Grenada

The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has approved a loan of US$15 million and a grant of US$533,000 to complement the government of Grenada’s efforts to address the substantial need for improved education infrastructure.

J.W. Fletcher is one of the six schools across the country that will be expanded or rehabilitated as part of the Grenada Education Enhancement Project (GEEP). Teachers and students are looking forward to the construction of two new blocks which will provide three classrooms, administrative space, and laboratories for Building Technology and Electronics, rooms for Music, Art, Technical Drawing and Counseling.

Grenada’s Minister of Education Anthony Boatswain said the implementation of the project will allow “our ministry to be better positioned to serve all its stakeholders at all levels and to take a professional approach towards the conduct of business and education.”

Grenada was badly affected by Hurricane Ivan and Emily in 2004 and 2005 respectively that some damaged schools have not yet been restored and some continuing to be housed in temporary structures.

Guyana

The Guyana Energy Agency (GEA) says it is considering importing oil from markets in non-CARICOM countries, but will continue with importation of the product from the Trinidad-based state owned oil company, Petrotrin.

The GEA recently approved a paper on approaches to mitigate supply disruptions and will go before Cabinet for review.

GEA’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Mahender Sharma, said the new approaches by GEA entail the identification of other markets that can be pursued, as well as mechanisms for improving local storage capacity.

He said receipt of Cabinet’s approval of the paper, the recommendations would be pursued in a bid to satisfy the country’s demand for oil.

A government statement said that the inconsistency in product availability over the past three years has been the cause for considering alternative markets within and outside of the region.

Haiti

Authorities in Haiti say there is a rise in violence in the island’s capital following the murder of Swedish tourist who was gunned down while walking with his girlfriend in a major commercial district.

The man was identified as Johan Noren, who was on vacation when he was shot in the chest during an apparent robbery on a busy street in Petionville.

Noren’s Swedish girlfriend who was beaten by the gun-wielding bandits is recovering at hospital, police said.

Reports are that the Swedish couple had missed a bus and was walking back to the hotel they had just checked out when they were attacked.

Haiti’s Chamber of Commerce has expressed concern over the “alarming” rise in violent acts creating a “climate of fear and panic.”

Recently, gunmen shot at several prominent businesses in Port-au-Prince but there were no reports of injuries.

Two days after Noren’s killing, a medical student from Tulane University who was in Haiti as part of a school program was shot in the chest during an armed robbery in Petionville.

Jamaica

Prime Minister Andre Holness said his government is working with the police and army to deal with the issue of gun violence in Jamaica.

Police recently announced that they would be mounting more police / military operations in the western section of the island.

The prime minister, who came into office in February this year, said his administration is giving the law enforcement agencies the resources needed to deal effectively with crime and murders in particular.

He said crime impacts families and by extension the economy. “We must end gun violence,” Holness stated.

In January, law enforcement officials said that violent crimes among rival gangs involved in the so-called lottery scam had helped to drive the island’s homicide rate to the highest level in five years.

The Jamaica Constabulary said the country had at least 1,192 slayings in 2015, about a 20 percent increase from the previous year.

So far for this year more than 300 people have been murdered.

St. Kitts

American hip-hop star 50 Cent, whose real names is Curtis Jackson was slapped with a EC$3,000 fine (US$1,111) for using indecent language on stage at the recent St. Kitts Music Festival.

The 40-year-old rapper, along with a member of his entourage, Bajar Walter was also made to pay a fine when they made a rare Sunday sitting of the court and pleaded guilty.

50 Cent was arrested last Saturday night after an hour-long performance at the Warner Park Stadium that included with profanity-laced hit, P.I.M.P.

The court which usually closed on week-ends was opened on Sunday so 5o cent could make an afternoon flight back to the U.S. in time for the BET Awards.

Back in 2003 another American rapper, DMX, whose real name is Earl Simmons, was also fined for using indecent language during a concert.

Trinidad

Trinidad and Tobago is sending goods supplies valued US$ $29 million to economically depressed Venezuela, which is facing a food shortage.

Two cargo planes from Venezuela’s military arrived at Piarco International Airport recently and began airlifting items such as rice, flour, frozen chicken, ketchup, pasta, toilet paper, tuna and powdered milk.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry said a total of 68 tons of food left Trinidad for the eastern side of Venezuela, where it was received by Venezuelan officials including President Nicolas Maduro.

The products came from local manufacturers who had demanded payment for the foodstuff before it left T&T.

The arrangement came within one month of an agreement T&T signed with Venezuela during an official visit by President Maduro to supply the South American country with basic food items through the establishment of a US$50 million revolving fund.

–Compiled by Azad Ali

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