Caribbean RoundUp

Antigua

Cash-strapped regional airline LIAT recently celebrated its 63rd anniversary, indicating that it remains “resilient to fulfil its mandate to connect the Caribbean.”

The Antigua-based airline, which was founded in Montserrat in October 1956 by Kittian-born Sir Frank Delisle, operates 491 weekly flights to 15 destinations from Puerto Rico in the north to Guyana in the south.

Chief Executive Officer, Julie Reifer-Jones, said despite its present problems, she was thankful to the passengers across the regions who are supporting the airline.

She said the airline, which employs more than 600 people, provides the critical service of connecting the Caribbean.

Reifer-Jones said that the airline has continued to make strides in its on-time performance and customer service across the region as the airline moves itself on a sustainable footing.

Antigua and Barbuda had been holding talks with Barbados on acquiring further shares in the airline, but said it was not willing to pay the estimated US$44 million the government had been asking for the sale of its shares.

Apart from Antigua and Barbuda and Barbados, the other shareholders are the governments of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica and Grenada.

Bahamas

The United Nations International Organization for Migration (IOM) has launched a US$10 million appeal to assist The Bahamas as the country continues to recover from the devastation brought on by Hurricane Dorian recently.

IOM said the funding will support its operations in areas such as camp coordination and management, provision of shelter and non-food items, and emergency evacuations through April 2020.

IOM officer, Nazif Aliu said Hurricane Dorian caused widespread devastation on the islands of Abaco, from Marsh Harbor to the North, and Grand Bahama, from Pelican Point east to Mclean’s Town, leaving behind a trail of destroyed infrastructure, clogged with debris from devastated houses, domestic goods, vehicles and natural debris like trees and mangroves, uprooted by the storm surge.

The UN said that when Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas on Sept. 1, Category 5 storm caused 61 deaths, while more than 600 people are still missing.

IOM has established two offices in the Bahamas — one in the capital, Nassau, and the other on Abaco — with a third planned for Grand Bahama.

Guyana

London-based oil exploration and production company, Tullow Oil, says it expects to spend an estimated US$80 million on drilling wells in Guyana’s offshore basis this year.

Tullow Oil started the search for oil in the Orinduik Block in June and was successful two months later.

The Jethro-1 well was drilled and according to the head of communications at Tullow Oil, George Cazenove, drilling will soon begin on the Carapa well in the Kanuku license.

He said in 2019 the company is going to spend US$80 million on the wells that are being drilled this year.

Cazenove noted that the seismic exercises which were conducted previously had a separate cost attached to them and that the company has not yet outlined a budget for operations in 2020.

But he acknowledged that “next year’s program would be materially defined by what happens and what does not happen with the Carapa well.”

Haiti

Haiti has warned rioters that attack on tourist plants on the French-speaking CARICOM country are putting the sector at risk as well as possible future investments in the industry.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bocchit Edmond, who is also the acting minister of tourism said there had been attacks on several tourist establishments in areas across the island in recent times, also affecting workers.

He said these intimidating and irresponsible acts only endanger thousands of jobs in the tourism sector and on the other hand, constitute a serious threat to the freedom of enterprise.

Edmond said while the Haitian constitution guarantees everyone to freely express their demands peacefully. He was reminding protestors that they have “the imperative obligations to protect Haitian companies that participate in the creation of jobs and of wealth at the national level.”

Opposition parties have been staging demonstrations over the past weeks demanding the resignation of President Jovenel Moise, whom they have accused of engaging in corruption linked to the Venezuelan-funded oil initiative, PetroCaribe.

But Moise has said he has no intention of stepping down and instead has proposed a national dialogue so as to move the country forward.

Jamaica

The Canadian government has updated the emergency status for Jamaica on a travel advisory due to continued high level violent crime.

In an advisory, the Canadian government noted that the Jamaican government has declared a state of emergency effective until Oct. 19, for the central parishes of Clarendon and St. Catherine.

It added that a further state of emergency is effective until Oct. 28, for the following areas the western parishes of St. James, Hanover and Westmorland — areas that include the tourist resort towns of Montego Bay and Negril.

In addition, a state of emergency has been declared for the Corporate Area, which includes areas of Kingston, which is in effect until Jan. 4 next year.

The advisory said tourists must exercise a high degree of caution at all times, as well as monitor local media and follow instructions of local authorities. It stated that, “violent crime, including armed robbery and murder, is a problem in large cities despite the presence of police to counter criminal activity. The availability of firearms is widespread, and most violent drug and gang-related crimes, especially murder, involve firearms, if you are staying at a resort in an effected area, you are advised to restrict your movements beyond resort security perimeters.”

It urged Canadians who may want to travel outside of the resort, to use transportation arranged or provided by the resort.

The Canadian government also warned that the Jamaican police “may impose curfew with short notice in areas where gang activity is a concern.”

Trinidad

The Trinidad and Tobago Minister of National Security, Stuart Young said he has approved more than 10,000 of the 16,532 Venezuelans who fled Venezuela had applied to stay and work in Trinidad and Tobago under an amnesty, which was granted to illegal Venezuelans living in Trinidad and Tobago.

Young told the Parliament during the 2019/budget debate over 8,000 cards have been approved for those who had qualified.

He said his government has absolutely no intention of a second phase of registration. A few days after a pirogue with 18 Venezuelans, including men, women and children

The minister added that 300 Venezuelans who did not “cross the hurdle” of being registered are dealt with by the Immigration Division.

Young reiterated that the Immigration Division will ensure that “anyone who is here illegally, which would include some who had overstayed their visa we found find them and deport them.

He noted that there were many Venezuelans in Trinidad and Tobago who are being taken advantage of by local men.

The party featured a cover charge of TT$500 and alcohol was being served, without a license, police said.

Last week, the police raided a “Secret Sunday” party and held 22 female Venezuelans, including a 15-year-old girl at a house in Port of Spain on the suspicion of prostitution and human trafficking.

Last week some illegal 18 Venezuelans, including men, women and children who were heading to Trinidad through the western end of Trinidad were intercepted and escorted back to Guiria on the Venezuelan coast by the T&T Coast Guard.

— Compiled by Azad Ali

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