Caribbean RoundUp

Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister, Gaston Browne.
Gov’t of Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua

Prime Minister Gaston Browne said there appears to be a general consensus on the way forward regarding the issues Antigua and Barbuda has had with Barbados as it relates to the sale of its shares in the cash-strapped regional airline, LIAT.

He said the “consensus will result in the recapitalization of LIAT as well as the restructuring of LIAT to place it on a path to sustainability.”

The prime minister said he was not in a position to give details at this time, “but to say that the issues that we have had, there has been some convergence and there is now a consensus on the way forward.”

Antigua and Barbuda currently holds a 34 percent of the shares in the airline and had discontinued its interest in purchasing some of the shares owned by the Barbados government.

The Barbados government had initially indicated it wanted US$44 million for its LIAT shares that Prime Minister Browne has said was too steep and that while his government wanted a bigger stake in the regional airline, it had no intention of “giving away money.”

Antigua and Barbuda had sought to acquire the LIAT shares owned by the Barbados government through a takeover of the liability of the government to the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), and would have given it 81 percent of the airline that employs more than 600 workers and operates 491 flights weekly across 81 destinations.

The other shareholder governments of LIAT are Dominica, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada.

Caribbean

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) recently launched its “I AM CARICOM” campaign designed to improve the visibility of the regional integration movement, as well as promote the CARICOM identity.

The Guyana-based CARICOM Secretariat said in a statement that the campaign which was launched during the 10th meeting of Caricom Committee off Ambassadors, is also intended to increase citizens’ engagement with the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and engender ownership of the imminent Caricom Strategic Plan 2020.

The current strategic plan, which ends in December 2019, is the Community’s first and is a direct response to the need to target “a narrow range of specified time-frames, focusing on a few practical and achievable goals” in relation to the regional development agenda.

The CSME allows for the free movement of goods, skills, labor and services across the 15-member grouping.

The Secretariat said the campaign aims to assist Caribbean people “to understand Caricom, its purpose, people, geography, institutions, governance structure, policies and plans and to fully engage citizens of the Community in the process of developing and implementing strategic interventions that affect their lives.”

Guyana

Guyana has intensified its fight against Trafficking in Persons (TIP) with the launch of Standard Operation Procedures (SOP) for investigating and prosecuting cases.

The move is a collaboration between the government, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the US Department of State.

Minister of Public Security and Chairman of the Ministerial Taskforce for the Trafficking in Persons, Kemraj Ramjattan, said the SOPs were part of a larger effort to protect the rights of TIP victims.

He said that with wealth, Guyana is going to become a magnet for such crimes and that all stakeholders needed to be singing from the same hymnbook that is why having SOPs are important.

Regional Coordinating Officer for the Caribbean and Chief of Mission for IOM, Robert Natiello, said, while the SOPs were a significant milestone, it marked the beginning of hard work for the stakeholders.

He added that they would have to work, hand in hand, to implement the SOPs and urged them to become familiar with the document, quickly.

Jamaica

Justice Minister Delroy Chuck is urging Jamaicans to report criminal activities to law enforcement authorities and not to fear of being murdered.

He said persons must muster the courage to speak out and expose criminals and wrongdoers because “far too many of us want to live without having to come forward, but what’s life is not about.”

Chuck said the indiscipline and the disorder that “we see right across Jamaica must stop” and called for an end to the culture of not reporting criminal activities.

Instead, he told the Child Diversion Sensitization Session that Jamaicans should stand up for what is right and help put these criminal element behind bars.

Child diversion is the process of implementing measures for dealing with children who are accused or recognized to have infringed the law, without resorting to formal judicial proceedings. The national program is being introduced under the Child Diversion Act that was passed in 2018.

Last year, 1,287 people were murdered and so far for this year more than 1,060 people been killed island wide.

Grenada

Pure Grenada, the Spice Island of the Caribbean has been named “one to watch” in the ABTA Travel Trends Report 2020, the only Caribbean destination to be included in the UK benchmark report since 2018.

Independently selected by ABTA experts, inclusion is based on a range of factors such as accessibility, major events and celebrations and areas that are experiencing a revival.

ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) has been a trusted travel brand for over 65 years and helps UK holidaymakers travel with confidence.

The ABTA names stands for support, protection and expertise, giving consumers confidence in products they buy from ABTA members.

ABTA has more than 4,300 travel brands in its membership, providing a wide range of leisure and business travel services.

Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) CEO, Patricia Maher, said the BTA Travel Trends report pinpoints the natural beauty and uncrowded beaches of Grenada as some of the reasons why “our islands of Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique stand out, in addition to our remarkable attractions and the special warmth or our hospitality.”

Haiti

The Haitian government has announced new security measures to ensure the safety of citizens as they prepare to celebrate Christmas amid ongoing opposition protests for the resignation of President Jovenel Moise.

The Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of the Interior and the Public Secretariat said they are working hard to ensure the safety of the population.

Secretary for State and Public Security Ronsard St Cyr told a news conference that there would be an increased police presence in metropolitan areas and several parts of the country, especially in strategic areas near schools.

He said two specialized units of the National Police of Haiti (NPH), namely the Intervention and Maintenance Corps and the Departmental Unit of Maintenance of Order, would be stationed permanently on the National Road between Chalon and Petit-Goave, as well on the roads between Cabaret and Arcahaie to prevent acts of banditry.

Regarding gang activity, St Cyr said the authorities are moving to detain gang members and that the police are intensifying their strategies to restore public order.

Trinidad

Trinidad-owned Caribbean Airlines Ltd. has temporarily introduced non-stop return flights from Kingston, Jamaica to Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands using a 737-800 Next Generation aircraft.

The new route was recently announced CAL in a media release saying there are two departures from either destination per week — Tuesday and Saturdays — between December and March 28.

The release said the flight is timed to provide easy connections to other Caribbean Airlines destination.

CEO, Garvin Medera was quoted in the release as saying, “Caribbean Airlines has a clear vision to connect the region, which is a major element in strengthening our Caribbean identity.”

Cayman Islands Airports Authority CEO Albert Anderson welcomed the move saying, “Cayman Islands is delighted to add Caribbean Airlines to the expanding list of airlines serving the Cayman Islands.”

— Compiled by Azad Ali

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