The Barbados Mia Mottley government has contracted former Prime Minister Owen Arthur to chair a new global commission that will examine issues related to small island states.
This comes ahead of next year’s United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) XV to he be held in Barbados.
The Barbados-sponsored Global Commission on Small Island States (SIDS) — Trade Development Options 2020 is expected to prepare on issues ranging from the high indebtedness of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to global warming and the impact of artificial intelligence.
A release from the Office of the Prime Minister stated that the commissioners would be selected from around the globe and would meet face-to-face.
A secretariat to support the commission and its work would soon be extablished.
“There research will also cover topic such as the development of a realizable modern trade agenda, an assessment of the current state of SIDS; graduation from access to financing vulnerability; a narrow economic base enhancing dependence on a small range of products; areas of potential transformation; creative economies; and the development of small enterprises,” the release said.
It was also noted that papers produced by the commission would be considered in the leading up to Barbados’s chairmanship and hosting of UNCTAD XV in 2020.
The United States has named four Caribbean Community (CARICOM) states as major drug transit or illicit drug-producing countries.
President Trump in his recent “Presidential Determination on Major Illicit Drug-Producing Countries for fiscal year 2020 address, named The Bahamas, Belize, Haiti and Jamaica among a number of other countries in Central and South America.
In his statement, Trump noted that a country’s presence on the foregoing list is not necessary a reflection of its government’s counter narcotics efforts or level of cooperation with the United States.
The reason countries are placed on the list is the combination of geographic, commercial, and economic factors that allow drugs to transit or be produced, even if a government has engaged in robust and diligent narcotics control measures.
Trump said his administration has devoted unprecedented resources to combating the scourge of illicit drugs in the United States.
He said this includes strengthening the US borders and expanding programs to prevent illicit drug use and aid the recovery and treatment of those who need it.
Trinidad and Tobago-owned Caribbean Airlines (CAL) will fly non-stop between Kingston, Jamaica and Grand Cayman, starting from Oct. 29. The flights will operate twice weekly on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
CAL CEO Garvin Medera said in a release that the new Grand Cayman route is a welcome addition to the airline’s schedule “as we continue our mission to connect the Caribbean.”
He said Jamaica and Grand Cayman have always enjoyed a very close connection and this addition of 300 seats per week into either market will strengthen this relationship.
Grand Cayman is the largest of the three Cayman Islands, with a population of 65,813. Tourism accounts for about 70 percent of GDP, with tourist arrivals exceeding two million.
Grenada tourism officials say an estimated 2,000 Trinidad and Tobago nationals visited the island for the recent Carnival celebrations, making it the best-performing Caribbean Community (CARICOM) market for the tourism sector.
The Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) said, however the United States with visitor arrivals of 6,818, or an increase of 21 percent over last year, was the best-performing market overall, followed by Trinidad and Tobago with a seven percent increase or 1,973 visitors.
The GTA said Grenada records a 7.7 percent increase in arrivals for the 2019 festival of 13,327 compared to 12,379. This figure is a measure of the visitors and diaspora arriving g in the destination, prior to Carnival Monday.
Of the 13,327 stayover visitors, 10,505 were tourists and 2,822 were Grenadians residing abroad, the GTA said, noting that the growth is attributed to additional airlift including three additional flights by regional airline, LIAT, increased marketing and the global recognition of Grenada’s artistes, culture and music.
The Jamaica government says there are plans to establish a center in Jamaica to further advance plant-based medical research.
Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Audley Shaw said a “program of cooperation”, involving noted Jamaican scientists and businessman Dr. Henry Lowe, as well as Dr. Julius Garvey, son of National Hero Marcus Garvey, and director at Harvard University Medical School, Dr. Wilfred Ngwa, is being finalized for the associate research center’s establishment.
Shaw told the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) that Dr. Ngwa will soon be visiting Jamaica to further advance these discussions as Jamaica’s unique microclimatic conditions place Jamaica in an enviable position globally.
Shaw noted that of just over 100 plants which are known and used for medicines, 51 are indigenous to Jamaica.
He said a research study by Harvard University scientists, which showed that cannabis can potentially help cancer victims, is “very significant.”
The minister said given Jamaica’s unique history with respect to cannabis and may other plant-based medicines’ exciting days” are ahead for the country in this regard.
Shaw revealed that the Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) has now issued 54 licenses to cannabis entrepreneurs and will shortly complete export regulations to facilitate the legal export of cannabis raw materials, such as buds and oil extracts.
The Guyana government plans to establish a local content compliance unit as the country gears to begin commercial oil production next year.
Head of the Department of Energy, Dr. Mark Bynoe told the orientation exercise at the University of the West Indies (UWI) that the unit will validate the information submitted by oil companies in Guyana’s basis.
“How do you know if Exxon employed 1,357 people, how many of Guyanese origin are actually employed, we are setting up a compliance unit which will help to validate and to determine the information we’re getting from the operators is authentic,” he said.
Bynoe told the students that they should also consider diversifying their careers in the oil and gas sector, saying “there are a multiplicity of skills and rage of expertise that will be required.”
Trade unions, opposition politicians, the media and other commentators are calling on the government to repeal the 99-year old Sedition Act following the arrest and charge of one of the Trinidad and Tobago’s leading trade unionists recently.
Watson Duke, President of the powerful Public Service Association (PSA) and three other unions was charged by the police with making a controversial statement calling on PSA workers to take action and be prepared to fight and die in the face of job losses a year ago.
Duke urged trade union leaders and members to rise up and sacrifice their lives and fight for their members, as he declared he was prepared to die in the struggle.
Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has indicated her intention to introduce a motion in Parliament to repeal the Sedition Act, Chapter 11:04, which came into force in April 1920, is inimical to the tenants of a modern constitutional democracy.
— Compiled by Azad Ali