Caribbean RoundUp

Antigua

The Antigua and Barbuda government said negotiations with Barbados to become the majority shareholder in the cash-strapped regional airline, LIAT, “have been put on hold.”

Antigua and Barbuda is seeking to become the largest shareholder government of the airline and is in negotiations with the Barbados government to acquire most of the country’s share-holding in the Antigua-based airline.

The other shareholders are Dominica, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada.

Antigua and Barbuda currently holds 34 percent and if it succeeds in convincing the Barbados government to part with its LIAT shares, would have 81 percent of the airline that employs over 600 people and operates 491 flights weekly across 15 destinations.

The Antigua and Barbuda government says it would seek to acquire the LIAT shares owned by Barbados through a take-over of the liability of Barbados to the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).

According to a statement issued after the Gaston Browne weekly Cabinet meeting it said the negotiations have been put on hold and no date for the re-start have been set.

Bahamas

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) will provide US$100 million to help finance humanitarian and reconstruction efforts in the Bahamas following widespread loss of life and destruction caused by Hurricane Dorian.

According to an IDB media release, the funds are from a $100 million contingency loan signed in April 2019, to cover unexpected public expenses arising from emergencies caused by severe or catastrophic natural disasters.

The release stated that the loan disbursement is subject to eligibility requirements including sustained wind speeds, accumulated precipitations and impacted populations.

All the requirements were met by the devastation Hurricane Dorian caused in the Abaco and Grand Bahama regions, in the northern Bahamas.

The IDB added that the contingency funding comes on top of an emergency donation of $200,000 provided by the IDB.

Barbados

The Barbados government is seeking to explore a social project that result in more than 1,000 pit toilets converted to water borne facilities, the reconstruction of at least 500 vulnerable homes and families empowered through education, training and job opportunities.

A government statement said Prime Minister Mia Mottley expressed the desire during a recent meeting with the Senior Operations Officer from the Department of Public Sector Operations, The OPEC Fund for International Development, Srij Senussi and Assistant for the Caribbean Area, Nelson Louison.

Mottley described the social project as “an opportunity to make wrong things right” and noted that the venture was critical for the stabilization of the vulnerable population.

“We are trying to raise a grant and very low interest funding because no one in the 21st century should have to go to a pit to relieve themselves, but we still have between 4,000 and 5,000 on the island,” she noted.

Caribbean

The Caribbean is a leading trade partner in terms of export to the region and as the largest importer of US goods.

This is according to US Ambassador to the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and Barbados, Linda Taglialatela who said the US-Caribbean 2020 Strategy guides “our work in the region in six areas: security, diplomacy, prosperity, energy, education and health.”

She noted that since 2010, the US Congress has appropriated nearly US$617 million for the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), a shared security partnership with the Caribbean that supports efforts to reduce illicit trafficking, increase citizen security, and promote crime prevention.

On the issue of trade between the Caribbean and the US, she said Washington remains the leading trade partner for the Caribbean in terms of exports to the region and as the largest importer of Caribbean goods.

The US diplomat said in 2016 the United States had US$4.6 billion trade surplus with the Caribbean, which indicates the region is an important market for the US economy.

Grenada

The World Bank is providing US$15 million in credit to Grenada to support the island’s digital government strategy.

The bank said that the International Development Association (IDA) credit program will build on government reform efforts to provide accessible and resilient online services to citizens and businesses.

The bank said the Digital Government for Resilience Project is designed to reduce the time spent on tax-related transactions, increase the number of civil registry transactions processed digitally and improve continuity of government services.

The project also includes institutional support for reviewing existing legislation, streamlining business process and training staff to lay the foundation for sustainable government digital services.

The World Bank said Grenada currently maintains paper files for many critical citizen and private sector services, such as birth and death registration, marriage and adoption, tax filing, government contracts, and judicial records and deeds.

Jamaica

The Jamaica government has unveiled a mural exhibition in tribute to the Windrush generation.

The exhibition is mounted at various locations in the arrival and departure sections at the Norman Manley International Airport. Among those who attended the ceremony was the British High Commissioner to Jamaica Asif Ahmad.

Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports Minister, Olivia Grange said the exhibition was a tribute to the “resilience and indomitable spirit” of a generation of Jamaicans who responded to the invitation of post-Second World War Britain for laborers to help restore services and communities.

She said despite the cold, the Jamaicans were undaunted.

Through their indomitable spirits and resilience, they developed what has become the formidable Jamaican Diaspora of the United Kingdom,” she added.

The Windrush murals project is a collaboration between the Jamaican government and the British Council, which features Jamaican and British artists.

The exhibition will be mounted at the airport for three months, then it will move to Orange Park in downtown Kingston.

Trinidad

The Law Associaiton of Trinidad and Tobago (LATT) is contemplating filing judicial review proceedings in the Port of Spain High Court against Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Rowley for his decision to ignore a report into allegations of misconduct against Trinidad and Tobago Chief Justice, Ivor Archie.

LATT is moving to hold meetings for its members to vote for or against legal proceedings being brought against the Prime Minister.

Based on the contents of an investigative report, which was not made public, a number of LATT members voted in favor of it being recommended that Rowley trigger impeachment proceedings against the Chief Justice under Section 137 of the Constitution.

Under the section, the President appoints a tribunal to investigate the allegations.

The tribunal reports to the Privy Council, which then gives the President recommendations on what action should be taken.

The allegations are based on a series of articles in a daily newspaper back in 2017 that the CH used his office to fast-track Housing Development Corporation (HDC) homes for several individuals and that he tried to influence judges of the Supreme Court to change their State provided security in favor of private security which would have benefited his fraudster friend Dillian Johnson, who had conned several individuals using Archie’s photograph and name.

— compiled by Azad Ali

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