Caribbean RoundUp

In this aerial photo, homes are seen under the floodwaters caused by Hurricane Joaquin in the Southern area of Long Island, Bahamas, Monday, Oct. 5, 2015. Joaquin unleashed heavy flooding as it roared through sparsely populated islands in the eastern Bahamas.
Associated Press / Tim Aylen

Antigua

Antigua and Barbuda has won its first case involving confiscation of money laundering under the Proceeds of Crime Act in the High Court recently.

Luke Joseph, who was convicted of cocaine possession, about two years ago, was ordered to pay EC$80,644 to the state after the court found that he benefitted from his drug running operations.

It was also determined that he had realizable assets, which could satisfy the confiscation order application made by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Anthony Armstrong.

Justice Keith Thom agreed with the DPP’s arguments, made earlier this year, that Joseph benefitted from his crime; that the benefit was the value of the cocaine which was worth EC$5.9 million; and that the cocaine had a market value, albeit and illegal market for drugs such as cocaine; and lastly that the law allows the court to draw interferences, based on evidence, that any assets held by the defendant at the time of his conviction are presumed to the result of or derived from the offence for which he was convicted.

The DPP said the convict had realizable assets in the form of a house in the British Virgin Islands as well as US$30,000 recovered in the house.

Bahamas

Bahamas Education Minister Jerome Fitzgerald estimated that it would cost the government about $1 million dollars to repair the damage caused to Family Islands schools by Hurricane Joaquin recently.

The minister said he visited all of the devastated islands over the past several days and saw most of the schools.

He said it will be a “major rebuilding exercise” to get all the schools to an acceptable condition. Though several schools were hit, Fitzgerald said many of them are small institutions. He said while officials expect to begin to issue contracts in a few weeks time, the process could take months in some cases.

Hurricane Joaquin ripped through Long Island, Long Cay, Rum Cay, Crooked Island, Acklins and San Salvador over two days, leaving hundreds of families homeless.

Some displaced residents have relocated to New Providence.

Barbados

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart said Barbados continues to be plagued by unjustified attacks from powerful nations as he confirmed two countries had moved to take the island off their tax haven black list.

He told a two-day conference at the Hilton Barbados resort, which forms part of the recent International Business Week activities, that Spain and Italy were removing Barbados from the list. Italy and Barbados recently signed a double-taxation agreement.

Stuart said Barbados must remain committed to the “tried and tested standards” of being a transparent, well-regulated, globally competitive jurisdiction that offers political, social and economic stability.

Guyana

Guyana President David Granger recently held talks with new Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley on several bilateral issues, according to a government statement.

It said that Granger, who was elected head of state in general elections earlier this year, led a delegation to Trinidad and Tobago recently which included Minister for Foreign Affairs Carl B. Greenidge.

“This was the first encounter between the two recently-elected leaders and they availed themselves of the opportunity to re-affirm the Guyana-Trinidad and Tobago bilateral relationship which is based on a history of shared values, respect, friendship and a tradition of cooperation at all levels of government, business and civil society,” the statement said.

It said the two leaders “engaged in bilateral discussions, which focused on enhancing the existing bilateral relationship in various spheres.”

“Both leaders exchanged views on deepening the collaboration already initiated in agriculture, skills development and energy cooperation,” according to the statement.

The release states that Granger briefed Dr. Rowley “on the latest developments regarding the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy.”

Montserrat

Representatives of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) recently paid a visit to Montserrat.

Chairman of CTO Richard Sealy, who is Barbados’ minister for tourism and international transport, and Hugh Riley secretary general of the CTO, held talks with Montserrat’s Premier and Minister for Tourism Donaldson Romeo.

The main purpose of the visit was to understand Montserrat’s unique position and situation to be better able to offer advice and technical assistance where needed.

It was also important for the CTO to outline to Montserrat the areas in which it can assist, such as identifying funding opportunities, preparation of funding proposals, assistance in sharpening the focus to meet donor requirements and showing the possibilities of accessing resource materials that would otherwise be available only to the donor’s members.

The CTO is the region’s tourism development agency.

St. Lucia

The St. Lucia Citizenship by Investment program which was approved by the Senate five months ago will go into effect from January next year.

Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony in making the announcement said the country would begin accepting applications from Jan. 1, 2016.

Anthony said the time had come to think beyond the traditional approaches, in order to deal with the myriad of problems facing small states and offering citizenship through investment has now become a viable alternative.

Addressing the Global Citizens Forum in Monaco recently, which included lawyers, wealth managers, marketing agents, investors and VIPs Dr. Anthony said that new citizens must embrace St. Lucia’s global standing and ensure that the country’s proud heritage endures.

The Senate passed the Citizenship by Investment Bill in August, paving the way for St. Lucia to join Grenada, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis and Antigua and Barbuda in offering citizenship to the wealthy in return for substantial investment.

St. Lucia is expecting significant benefits from the program.

Suriname

The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) has approved US$30.8 million to Suriname to support a secondary and technical education project in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member country.

Suriname’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Niermala Badsisingh expressed her government’s desire to continue expanding ties with the Organization of Islamic Corporation (OIC) and the Islamic Bank.

The bank is a branch of the OIC, which Suriname joined in 1996. Suriname is now working on a permanent member country partnership with the Islamic Bank according to the Minister for Finance Gillmore Hoefdraad. Another mission from the Islamic Bank will visit Suriname and Guyana next month. Guyana has often expressed interest in joining the bank and is the only OIC-member that is not part of the Islamic Development Bank.

Trinidad

The Trinidad and Tobago government has approved TT$5 million to help Dominica recover from the damage caused by Tropical Storm Erika.

The announcement was made by Communications Minister Maxie Cuffie during a post-Cabinet new conference at the Office of the Prime Minister.

He said that Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley had discussed the issue of help for Dominica with his Caribbean colleague PM Roosevelt Skerrit.

Cuffie said Skerrit was pleased with the assistance provided to his country.

He explained that the $5 million will be used to purchase construction material in T&T and have it transported to Dominica. Shortly after assuming office, Dr. Rowley sent former West Indies cricket captain Brian Lara to Dominica as a special envoy to ascertain the damage in that island that caused by the storm and how the T&T government could help.— compiled by Azad Ali

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