The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is advising Caribbean countries to focus on increasing flights from a small pool of airlines to attract more tourists, rather than seeking to attract ever-growing list of carriers.
This, Washington-based financial institution says, it a better use of scare resources.
The report, “Flying to Paradise: The role of Airlift in the Caribbean Tourist Industry,” states that if given the option to increase the frequency of flights from carriers already servicing a destination, the IMF recommends that Caribbean states do so, as opposed to initiating flights from new carriers.
The reason given is that government will make significant savings when negotiating with a smaller group of carriers.
The study, described as an IMF working paper, is a research in progress, but has made the recommendations as part of its preliminary conclusions.
A group of some 35 persons, including police officers, community activists, educators, business persons and social workers recently revived training as community mediators under the Canadian government-funded, Improved Access to Justice in the Caribbean (IMPACT) Project.
IMPACT Justice is a five-year regional justice sector reform project which is being implemented from within the Caribbean Law Institute, University of the West Indies (UWI) Cave Campus, Barbados.
The training which took place in Grenada falls under IMPACT Justice’s broader alternative dispute resolution (ADR) component. The goal is to build the capacity for community mediation services around the region in an effort to reduce the burden on the courts.
The regional justice reform project is slated to develop or increase the pool of community mediators in 13 CARICOM member states and assist in the development of a legislative framework within which mediations may be conducted.
Impact Justice has already conducted community mediation training in Barbados, Dominica, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
IMPACT Justice regional project director said; “We are seeking to increase the number of individuals who are available to assist in solving disputes at the community level before they escalated and have to be taken to the court. The idea is using mediation is to redirect some cases away from the courts.”
The Bahamas Bar Association (BBA) has joined calls for the attorney general to provide answers to questions regarding the release into the general population of two Cubans previously held for three years at the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services without being charged.
BBA President Elsworth Johnson is questioning why the Department of Immigration is now seeking to re-arrest Carlos Pupo and Lazaro Seara Martin, who had no legal status in the Bahamas.
He said the government is subject to the rule of law but is not empowered to hold persons beyond the reasonable time without charges.
In a statement recently, Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell said the men are “a national security risk” and ordered an investigation to take place into how the court was convinced to release them.
But Johnson said if the men were a risk to national security the government could have charged them with sedition, espionage or sabotage, for example.
Mitchell said in Parliament recently that he was “shocked” to find that lawyers did not offer any objections to the writ and claimed instructions were left for them to do so.
CARICOM is moving ahead to explore new measures in the fight against youth crime and violence in the region.
Its most current initiative was a two-day forum in Georgetown, Guyana recently, which was funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the government of Spain, — an outcome of the two-year CARICOM / Spain Project: Youth on Youth Violence in the Caribbean.
This project which aims to reduce youth on youth violence, particularly in schools, is now being piloted in member states: Antigua and Barbuda, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago.
Approximately l00 participants from across the region engaged in interactive sessions centered on four main topics/issues: violence against children; school violence; youth gangs and violence, together with cross-cutting themes of gender, culture and other social determinants.
According to CARICOM Eye on the Future Report of 2010, the number one concern of youth is crime and violence. About 60 percent of CARIOM’s population is under the age of 30. The main perpetrators as well as the victims of crime are young people. Moreover, violence is the lead cause of death among males aged 15 – 24 in the Caribbean.
CARICOM’s Community Strategic Plan for 2015-2019 identifies Deepening Crime Prevention Initiatives and Programs as an area of focus to build the social resilience of the Community.
Jamaica has blocked some 50 tons of rice from Suriname after the shipment was found to be contaminated with rodent faeces.
The shipment valued at over J$4.6 billion (US$37, 952), was seized by the Food Storage and Prevention of Infestation Division (FSPID) of the Industry, Investment and Commerce Ministry and will soon be disposed.
Acting deputy food storage officer, Tamara Morrison said the contaminant was confirmed following tests conducted at the FSIPD’s Rodent Biology and Control Laboratory, on samples collected by the agency’s inspectorate.
Morrison advised that the contamination was determined to have occurred prior to the arrival of the rice and further indicated that this was the first time that rice imported by that consignee was found with contaminants.
She told the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) that the implications of the findings, including health risks, were discussed with the importer, adding that “these factors formed the basis for our decision to dispose of the commodity.”
There is no Zika case in St. Kitts and Nevis to date, This is according to Minister of State, Senator Wendy Phipps, who has responsibility for health.
She has confirmed that presently there are no suspected or laboratory confirmed cases of the Zika virus on the twin island federation.
The minister made the claim during a statement in the National Assembly recently concerning the Aedes aegypti mosquito-borne virus that has been identified in some islands of the Caribbean region.
She said visitors to St. Kitts and Nevis should not be afraid to travel to the island.
Owing to the economic impact of Zika, the World Bank has provided US$150 million in financing to Latin America and the Caribbean region to help combat the virus outbreak.
Turks and Caicos Islands
Former Turks and Caicos Islands premier Michael Misick is throwing his hat again into the political ring in the British Overseas Territory’s upcoming elections, despite being in the midst of a corruption trial.
Elections must be held no later than February 2017. And Misick, who led the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) from 2003 to 2009, before resigning, said he intends to put forward himself as a candidate for the ruling Progressive National Party (PNP).
Misick has submitted his name to the party he led for two general election victories, for consideration in the constituency of North and Middle Caicos- the constituency where he was born and which is currently represented by his nephew, Donhue Gardiner, who is also Minister of Immigration and Labor.
He and several other former government ministers and their associates are facing charges of conspiracy to accept bribes in public office, conspiracy to defraud and money laundering, brought by a special investigative team set up by the Turks and Caicos Islands in 2011.
The case is currently being heard before Justice Paul Harrison.
Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley said the level of crime in Trinidad and Tobago is “objectionable” and continues to get the attention of the Cabinet.
In a new release following the killing of a prison officer who was gunned down outside his home and two other murders, the prime minister stated government acknowledges the level of criminal conduct in the country was unacceptable and the National Security Council and all other arms of the state, whose duty it is, must work assiduously “to ensure that we return, in the shortest possible time, to good order, peace, safety and security in Trinidad and Tobago.”
Government, he said, will continue to focus and redouble its efforts to protect, secure and ensure an environment that is not conducive to fear and terror aimed at those citizens whose job it is to provide all aspects of security to the population,” Dr. Rowley added.
The murder rate has climbed to 85 so far for the year.
— compiled by Azad Ali