Caribbean RoundUp

Bahamas

The Bahamas government says it has reached an agreement with America’s largest cruise company, Carnival Cruise Line, for the construction of a multi-million-dollar cruise ship port in Grand Bahama.

Prime Minister, Dr. Hubert Minnis said the agreement comes “after many months of negotiations” and that he was pleased the “government has delivered a massive project for the people of Grand Bahama.”

He said residents of Grand Bahama and the entire Bahamas will benefit from the Carnival port development, which is going full speed ahead.

Media reports said that the project is estimated to cost US$100 million.

Earlier this year, Minnis said that the project would result in more than 1,000 direct and indirect permanent jobs on the island.

He said the new port will add to the government’s plan for a revitalized Grand Bahama.

Minnis also announced that another Carnival Cruise Line development project is progressing.

Barbados

A British woman had died in Barbados after being doused with a flammable substance and set alight as she lay in bed.

The family of the London-born Natalie Crichlow said they were “shocked and devastated” by her death.

Crichlow, 44, was visiting family on the island when she was attacked by unknown intruder on July 28, the UK Guardian reported.

The mother of three, who had survived cancer twice and had two strokes in the past decade, was on a trip to help look after her disabled brother and was attacked at his home in Christ Church.

She suffered 75 percent burns to her body, but she died in hospital on Aug. 6, the family said.

Reports are that the intruder broke into the house, then strangled her and set her alight.

Crichlow, also known by the names, Natalee and Karma had worked in various jobs, including as a make-up artist and as door staff.

A GoFundMe campaign was launched to raise money needed to bring her body back to Britain.

Police are currently hunting for the killer.

Caribbean

The Sugar Association of the Caribbean (SAC) is urging Caricom governments to strengthen the regional market for Caribbean White sugar by enforcing the Common External Tariff (CET) on imported white sugar.

In a statement posted on its website, the SAC said it may surprise Caribbean consumers to know that currently the lemonade or cola that they drink is nearly always made with sugar shipped from Guatemala, Brazil, Colombia or Mexico rather than locally produced sugar in the Caribbean.

It said reasons for this are historical and a result of long-standing preferential trade agreements with the European Union (EU) that provided regional producers with a guaranteed high market price for raw cane sugar.

But the SAC said that these preferential arrangements to end in October 2017, leading to an increase in European production of beet sugar, and leaving Caribbean producers to sell their sugar at world market prices — a situation not faced by any other sugar producer world-wide.

The SAC is campaigning for change in the trade rules for CARICOM governments to adopt as soon as possible the same approach as every other sugar producing region on the planet, thereby creating the right market conditions for a sustainable and successful future for the Caribbean sugar industry.

Guyana

Guyana raked in US$495 million in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in 2018, which was more than double what it received in 2017.

This is according to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in its report on Foreign Direct Investment in Latin America and the Caribbean 2019.

The steep upturn was driven by investments in the hydrocarbons sector, which accounted for 77 percent of total FDI, much of which was channeled into the development of oil fields discovered by ExxonMobil in 2015. In the first phase of this venture, Liza oil field is expected to begin producing up to 120,000 barrels of oil per day by early 2020. The company estimated these oil reserves at 5.5 billion barrels.

The Economist had reported that in a decade from now, Guyana could become the second-largest oil producer in Latin America and the Caribbean, after Brazil.

FDI inflows to sectors other than the oil industry, accounting for nine percent of the total, also grew.

As one example, the company MovieTowne, of Trinidad and Tobago, has invested US$50 million in an entertainment center, which opened in 2018.

Jamaica

Justice Minister Delroy Chuck believes “charlatans,” including members of the legal profession are behind a divorce racket in Jamaica.

He told television viewers many married couples who have been granted a degree absolute officially ending their marriages may find that the document has been forged.

Chuck said less than four weeks ago a law firm “actually sent a letter to the chief justice and copied to me where about nine of 10 divorce cases, allegedly coming from that law firm, were actually issued decree absolute which were fraudulent. Although the law firm’s name is on the bottom of the decree absolute, the law firm had nothing to do with that.”

The authorities are also investigating a case in which a decree absolute contained the signature of an acting judge.

Chuck said it means that there are some charlatans, maybe attorneys, or maybe paralegals who have taken it upon themselves to hoodwink persons that they could do divorces for them.

He is urging persons if they received decree absolute to check to ensure that these were genuine.

St. Lucia

The St. Lucia government is moving to implement by November this year, a Cruise Conversion Project (CCP) as the island seeks to generate additional revenue from the tourism sector.

Minister of Tourism, Dominic Fedee said that the sector had registered a one percent increase to date and that while the number of ships visiting St. Lucia had declined, the island was benefitting from larger cruise ship calls.

He said the move is to increase revenue from the cruise sector with some of the simple initiatives, which includes the St. Lucia Tourism Association (SLTA) plans to establish this winter a cruise conversion program.

Fedee said discussions have already begun with the SLTA to create a revenue center at Point Seraphine where “we provide cruise ship passengers with the opportunity to come back for longer stays.”

“This is a big initiative and it is a big revenue-generated endeavor by the SLTA,” he said.

The minister of tourism said the disembarking rate of the cruise passengers continues to be incredibly strong at about 95 percent, noting that cruise ship passengers are spending about a third of their time on shore.

Trinidad

Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to establish a general framework for both parties to undertake co-operative initiatives in the areas of energy exploration, energy security and energy exploration, development and production, in relation to hydrocarbon resources that extend their maritime boundaries.

The signing ceremony took place in Barbados last Saturday which was attended by T&T Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Rowley and Barbados Prime Minister, Mia Mottley.

The MoU was signed by T&T Minister of Energy, Franklin Khan and Barbados Minister of Energy, Wilfred Abrahams.

Rowley said the agreement lays the groundwork for the two countries to act as one in encouraging investment in their deep offshore waters.

— Compiled by Azad Ali

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