Caribbean RoundUp

Caribbean

A commission charged with creating a human strategy for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) was recently launched in Barbados andhosted by the Caribbean Development Bank.

CARICOM leaders took the decision to establish the commission at their 25th intercessional meeting in 2014. The commission has 17 specialists and other stakeholders in education and human resource development and its work is supported by the CARICOM Secretariat, as coordinator, and the CDB which is financing the reestablishment of a gender-responsive and socially inclusive CARICOM Strategy for harmonized education reform.

Antigua

The Immigration Department will impose a late fee penalty on immigrant residents in Antigua and Barbuda from the end of this month for failing to get an extension of stay on or before the expiry date.

Chief Immigration Officer Annette Mark said the measure is being undertaken by the department to keep residents in line noting that the practice is being adopted from other Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and Caribbean nations.

Mark said the exact sum for the late payment fee has not yet been decided but it is going to be standard for everyone.

“We are hoping that persons will still come forward and regularize their time,” he said.

Barbados

Sandals Resorts International has started the multi-million expansion of its Dover Beach property in Barbados with the construction of an additional 222 rooms and suites.

Dubbed Sandals Barbados “Phase 11,” the expansion when completed in November 2017, will add to the existing 280-room count and firmly place the property as the largest Sandals Resort in the Eastern Caribbean.

A press release stated that official ground-breaking ceremony was held on June 8, 2016, was led by Sandals Chairman Gordon “Butch” Stewart and Chief Executive Officer, Adam Stewart, along with Barbadian Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy, Health Minister John Boyce and several invited tourism and business officials.

The expansion is set to create an additional 520 new jobs bringing the total direct employment to more than 1,100.

Chairman Stewart assured that when completed, the expansion will set the stage for what is continued revolution in hospitality in the Caribbean.

On completion, the resort will offer five new restaurants, new spa and wellness sanctuary, three new swimming pools and an entertainment pavilion complete with a bowling alley, the first for a Sandals Resort.

Grenada

The Grenada government said it does not expect any backlash from a what is described as a civil matter in the United States involving Charles Liu, a citizen of Grenada under Section 11 of the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Act, because the matter has nothing to do with the program.

A government statement said: “A civil suit was brought against Mr. Charles by an investor who reported him to the Securities and Exchange Commission in the USA, requesting that an investigation be conducted because two years had passed since he approached them for money to construct a modern cancer hospital.”

However, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said recently that it had filed fraud charges and obtained an asset freeze against Liu and his wife, who are accused of misusing two-thirds of the money they raised from investors for the purpose of building and operating a new cancer treatment center.

Although the investigation may have been triggered by an aggrieved investor, the SEC made it clear that the complaint was filed by them, not the investor.

Minister of Economic Development Oliver Joseph told a post cabinet press briefing if the matter becomes a criminal indictment, Grenada will take whatever action is deemed necessary.

Liu is one of the significant investors in the proposed Mt. Hartman Project in Grenada and was appointed as an agent for the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program in the United States.

Jamaica

The Jamaica government has announced that all members of Parliament will be given Ja$1 million to fight the Zika virus in their communities.

Speaking in the House of Representatives, Health Minister Dr. Christopher Dufton said the funding, which will be provided through the National Health Fund, will be channeled through the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development and will be available from July 1, 2016.

He said the funds will be used to train 1,000 community workers through HEART Trust / NTA who will be employed for six weeks beginning July; facilitate community and two hall meetings; undertake vector control activities at the community level; and to disseminate education material.

St. Kitts

Key stakeholders from a wide-cross section of St. Kitts and Nevis recently attended a crime reduction consultation organized by the Ministry of National security.

Persons from faith-based institutions, Parents, youth groups and law enforcement took part in the June 4-11 consultation.

International social skills consultant Neal J. Chitan met with residents of the twin-island to discuss strategies as part of the government’s initiatives to reduce crime.

Chitan said he is working to “uncover the root causes; and also to initiate concept and strategy that will not only create an anti-crime resolve in citizens but also create a national media buzz.”

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Osmond Petty said the consultation is in keeping with government’s strategy to implement “a broad-based, multi-faceted approach to crime reduction.

Petty said he was pleased with Chaitan’s presentations, which centered on the Enforcement, Diagnostic, Education and Rehabilitation model and pledged to promote such.

Chitan also engaged members of the Criminal Justice Strategic Board, the Chamber of Industry and Commerce and other groups and organizations.

Suriname

A military court has ordered that the murder trial of Suriname President Desi Bouterse in connection with 1982 deaths of his political opponents should resume after it ruled that an amnesty law is unconstitutional.

The trial had been on hold since April 2012, when a parliament controlled by Bouterse’s party approved an amnesty law.

A constitutional court was supposed to verify whether the amnesty law was legitimate, but such a court was never created.

After four years, the military court said it had waited long enough.

St. Vincent

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves recently laid the cybercrime legislation in Parliament. The bill had its first reading in Parliament and was sent to a select committee for review and consultations.

The legislation, among other measures, create offenses relating to cyber harassment and bullying, illegal accessing and remaining in a computer system, as well as illegal interception, acquisition or interference of computer data.

If the bill is become law, anyone convicted of an offense is liable to a fine of EC$200,000 and imprisonment for up to 20 years. Critics say the legislation is intended to silence opponents of the government who use the Internet to engage in their activism.

Gonsalves, who is also Minister of Legal Affairs, has brushed aside his critics, saying the bill is regional in nature and adapted for local use.

Trinidad

The Trinidad and Tobago government is bringing legislation to Parliament to make firearm and gang-related offences nonbailable for a period of two years. This was disclosed by Minister in the Ministry of the Attorney General Stuart Young at a news conference last week at the Office of the Prime Minister in St. Clair, Port of Spain.

He said similar legislation was passed by the former People’s Partnership (PP) government with the support of the then Opposition (now ruling) PNM.

Young said there are currently provisions in place in law making people charged with certain offences, ineligible for bail, including illegal possession of firearms and kidnapping.

“What this law does is that persons charged with respect to these offences are not eligible for bail. The prosecution has 120 days with which to bring evidence to court and commence the case, failing which, the accused can then be eligible to apply to a magistrate or High Court judge for bail,” he said.

Young said these provisions will expire in August and what the government is seeking to do is extend the provisions until August 2018 to allow law enforcement agencies as well as the prosecutorial arms to have ineligibility for bail for the next two years

-compiled by Azad Ali

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