CARICOM leaders have accepted a proposal from Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley to amend the Treaty of Chaguaramas to incorporate the Council for National Security and Law Enforcement (CONSLE) as an organ of CARICOM and the Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) as an institution of CARICOM.
The proposals were put forward on the final day of the 27th Inter-Sessional CARICOM Heads of Government meeting in Placencia, Belize.
Rowley, who has responsibility for security in the CARICOM quasi-cabinet, also made a presentation with recommendations relating to Citizens by Investments.
This is according to a statement from the Office of the Prime Minister, in Port of Spain. The conference took place between Feb. 16-17, 2016.
CARICOM leaders accepted that all member states wishing to maintain citizenship by investments should utilize the services of the Joint Regional Communications Center, to provide the necessary expertise and resources in the design and implementation of a more robust system of background checks for vetting individuals applying for economic citizenship.
Antigua and Barbuda Opposition leader Harold Lovell said his United Progressive Party (UPP) intends to challenge in court the process used by the government to approve more than 800 passports under the Citizenship by Investment Program (CIP) which he claimed is illegal.
Lovell said during the recent budget debate said, “I am putting all those persons who have had any transaction with the CIP Unit on notice that they have been operating unlawfully without the benefit of a board, which was set up by the statue. They must understand that all they have done is illegal.”
He alleged the government has failed to conduct the program in accordance with the regulations that were to take effect from September 2014.
Lovell who is a senator said all transactions after this date are null and void.
He said cabinet is doing the work that the law specifies should be done by the board.
The UPP leader also noted that the government has also failed to provide the bi-annual reports of the CIP which are stipulated in the act.
He said the government was in office for almost two years and they have failed to tell the public how much money has been placed in the National Development Fund.
Barbados is beefing up security at all ports and will be fingerprinting every person entering and leaving the island.
The move was recently announced by Chief Immigration Officer Erine Griffith, who said fingerprinting will start from April 1, 2016, and before year-end facial scans of all passengers would be introduced.
Law enforcement officials have welcomed the move saying it was in the works for some time.
Boyce said the development would assist law enforcement in the region “and at the same time allow us to make some positive identifications.”
Minister of Health Dr. George Norton has revealed that another case of the dreaded Zika virus has been detected in Guyana.
It is understood that a 16-year-old teenager from Eccles, East Bank Demerara has been detected with the mosquito-borne virus.
Dr. Norton said the Ministry of Health is taking every step to ensure that the spread of the virus remains under control.
He said the first case of the Zika was detected a month ago in Guyana.
The health minister explained that the presence of the virus was confirmed by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in Trinidad and Tobago.
He told the National Assembly that the agency also revealed that the sample came from a 27-year-old female, whose address is listed as Rosehall, Corentyne. The woman was said to have the symptoms of fever, body rash and pain.
Trinidad and Tobago has also recorded its first Zika virus case, that of a 61-year-old woman, according to Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh.
Grenada Tourism and Aviation Minister Yolande Bain-Horford will lead a three-member delegation to Trinidad and Tobago for talks with officials of Caribbean Airlines on increasing passenger airlift to the island.
A government statement said that, since late last year, direct flights from Canada and the United States have been significantly affected because of the airline’s decision to reroute its flights through Trinidad.
“The intention of the meeting is to renegotiate with Caribbean Airlines to increase direct regional and international flights to Grenada,” the statement said, adding that, Bain-Horford will also hold talks with her counterpart Shamfa Cudjoe “on collaborative civil aviation and tourism efforts.”
The Kitts and Nevis government has been criticized for failure to investigate allegations of corruption in the former Denzil Douglas administration.
The issue was raised recently on Winn FM’s inside the News Program by former cabinet minister Dwyer Astaphan who hosted the program.
He said the Team Unity coalition had promised in opposition to conduct several investigations, including one into the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF).
Astaphan said the Team Unity government had promised they were going to bring the SIDF under the scrutiny of the parliament and it is a year and nothing has been done.
“We have not seen any investigation into the Small Enterprise Assistance Fund. We have not seen any investigation into La Valley, into White Gate and into a number of other things. We cannot see up to date Social Security financial statement,” the former minister said.
Astaphan said there are people in positions under the former government who are now in key positions, people who were close to the former leadership, whose behavior, which was seriously and repeatedly complained about by the Team Unity leadership.
“You have to ask what has changed,” Astaphan said.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says the St. Lucian government economy has returned to growth after experiencing a recession in 2012 and close to zero growth in 2013.
The Washington-based financial institution said that the growth was based on strong tourism inflows and lower oil prices and that growth domestic product (GDP) reached 0.5 per cent in 2014.
The IMF said that despite moderate economic recovery, unemployment rose to 24.4 percent in 2014. It said youth unemployment, in particular, reached 41.8 per cent.
The IMF said the February 2015 decision by the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) Monetary Council to lower the minimum saving deposit interest rate from three to two percent, effective May 2015 “alleviated pressures on bank profitability and allowed some easing of monetary conditions while the exchange rate, which is pegged to the U.S. dollar, appreciated by three percent as of September 2015 in real effective terms from a year ago”.
The financial institution said it is encouraging the St Lucian authorities to preserve with their efforts to improve the fiscal position, revive bank intermediation and push ahead with the reform agenda.
Turks and Caicos Islands
A delegation of Turks and Caicos (TCI) gaming and government officials recently visited Jamaica to hold discussions with Jamaica’s Betting, Gaming, and Lotteries Commission (BGLC) to assist the British territory in finalizing its gaming policy, reformation of its gaming laws and the crafting of regulations.
The team from the TCI, including the permanent secretary with responsibility for gaming in the Ministry of Tourism, Environment, Culture and Heritage, Desiree Lewis, along with the heads of the Gaming Inspectorate, was on a three-day visit.
Lewis in an interview with Jamaica Information Service News (JIS) during the meeting, held at the BGLC office in Kingston, hailed Jamaica as a leader in the regulation of the gaming industry in the English-speaking Caribbean, noting that this is the reason it was important to seek discussions with the Jamaican stakeholders.
She said this would help to strengthen and modernize the legislation, noting that the TCI is undergoing a reform of its Gaming Inspectorate.
The Deputy Chief Gaming Inspector, Wayne Higgs, explained that the TCI has been experiencing challenges with illegally operated gaming houses and is seeking ways to eradicate the practice and have better governance of the industry.
Chairman of the BGLC, Gary Peart said the visit by the TCI justifies the investments the Commission has made in trying to achieve international standards in the regulation of the gaming industry.
The Japan Embassy in Trinidad and Tobago has issued a travel advisory to all its nationals proposing to visit the country, following the murder of Japanese national Asami Nagakiya whose body was found under a tree at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain on Ash Wednesday.
The advisory titled “Safety precautions during visits in Trinidad and Tobago, is dated Feb. 11, 2016.”
The advisory noted that the rate of violent crime in T&T has increased over the last few years and urged all visitors to be vigilant.
Nagakiya, who had a passion for steelband music had played with the Silver Stars Orchestra for the past five years and had been a regular visitor to T&T for carnival.
An autopsy performed on the body revealed that she was manually strangled to death.
The police have not yet made a breakthrough in the investigation.
— compiled by Azad Ali