Caribbean RoundUp

Old abandoned sail boats sit partially sunk in a heavily seaweed covered beach in the east coast town of Fajardo, Puerto Rico, Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015. Whatever the reason, the massive sargassum flow is becoming a major challenge for tourism-dependent countries. The algae harm coastal environments, even causing the deaths of sea turtle hatchlings after they wriggle out of the sand where their eggs were buried. Cleanup efforts by work crews may also worsen beach erosion.
Associated Press / Ricardo Arduengo

Antigua

Dominica’s Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit has called on the regional private sector and other stakeholders to consider purchasing shares in the cash-strapped regional airline, LIAT, saying that the company is vital to the continued development of the sub-regional and wider Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping.

Addressing a recent news conference following a two-day meeting of leaders of the sub-regional Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) in Antigua, Skerrit said it was necessary for regional stakeholders to move beyond mere words regarding the survival of the airline that employs more than 600 people and operates 491 flights weekly across 15 destinations.

He said the continued complaints about the airline, which has been in existence for the past 38 years, is not going to solve the problem.

“I think the regional private sector needs to join forces with the governments and all of us in the region need to join forces,” he said.

Earlier, Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister, Gaston Browne said his country is soon to start negotiations with Barbados to purchase its shares in the airline, the idea is still for other countries to acquire shares and help ensure the survival of the airline.

Barbados

The Barbados Tourism Market Inc. (BTMI) says the island remains on track for another record year of tourist arrivals.

BTMI Chief Executive Officer, Williams Griffith said the organization has already reported 324,551 arrivals for 2019, which is four percent above the same period for 2018.

He noted that the United Kingdom grew by 9.6 percent over last year and the United States, which has been showing consistent increases, is up 7.5 percent over 2018.

Speaking at a recent ceremony celebrating British Airways 65 years of civil aviation services to Barbados, Griffith said other successes were recorded in the Caribbean, Central and South America and also Germany.

He said Barbados was closely watching the Germany market as the island welcomes a new Lufthansa service in October.”

Bahamas

Bahamian authorities say they have detained l00 undocumented Haitian migrants during an exercise 30 miles northwest of Inagua.

They said the operation, involving officials of the Royal Bahamas Defense Force (RBDF) and Operation Bahamas Turks and Caicos with the support of the Bahamas Immigration Department resulted in the apprehension of a Haitian sailing vessel with l00 undocumented Haitian migrants on board.

The migrants — 89 males, 11 females — were transported to Inagua where they were handed over to immigration authorities for processing, according to a statement from the RBDF.

Cayman Islands

As of June 1, 2019 all Caribbean members of the Caribbean Catastrophic Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) have completed the selection of their insurance portfolio for 2019 / 2020, increasing their level of coverage for at least one of their policies and one country purchasing cover for an additional peril (tropical cyclone) that it did not have last year.

As the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season began, CCRIF members can be assured that they are covered for another year, against tropical cyclones, as well as excess rainfall events, which occur throughout the year and earthquakes, which may occur at any time.

CCRIF is the world’s first multi-country risk pool offering parametric insurance products for hurricanes, earthquakes and excess rainfall in the Caribbean and Central America.

Additionally, the facility has provided its members with two policy features, the Aggregate Deductible Cover (ADC) and Reinstatement of Sum Insured Cost, at no cost for 2019 / 2020.

Caribbean

The Belize-based Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) says regional countries have agreed that urgent action is needed on multiple fronts to address the sargassum seaweed problem.

It said that the countries have also highlighted the need for support from international development partners.

The CRFM said that sargassum problem as well as illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing were among the agenda items discussed at the recent 13th regular meeting of the Ministerial Council of the CRFM held in St. Skitts and Nevis.

CRFM Executive Director, Milton Haughton said that it is only through joint efforts that the region can resolve problems such as those associated with climate change, unregulated fishing and aquaculture.

Guyana

The Guyana government says it is pleased with the report by the US State Department to maintain the country on its Tier 1 status with regards to dealing with trafficking in persons (TIP), saying this is due to the ongoing collaboration among the various stakeholders to deal with the situation.

Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan, who is also the chairman of the Ministerial Task Force on Trafficking in Persons praised several organizations, including the police, for having played critical roles in trying to end TIP.

He said the Ministerial Task Force on Trafficking in Persons and its partners remain committed to working together to effectively combat the crime of trafficking and hold traffickers accountable.

The US in its “2019 Trafficking in Persons Report,” noted that only the Bahamas and Guyana “fully” met the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.

Washington said the authorities in Nassau and Georgetown continued to demonstrate “serious and sustained efforts during the reporting period” and as a result, the two CARICOM countries remained on Tier 1.

This is the third consecutive year that Guyana has emerged with a Tier 1 category while Washington has named Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago remain on the Tier 2 list.

Trinidad

The United States said it is looking forward to working together with Trinidad and Tobago to fight human trafficking.

The US Embassy in Port of Spain issued a statement recently, following Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Rowley’s fiery comments in response to the 2019 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report.

In its statement, the embassy said it appreciated National Security Minister, Stuart Young for his “balanced approach” to the issues raised in the TIP report.

Rowley fired back at the United States’ criticism of Trinidad and Tobago’s handling of human trafficking amid the Venezuelan migrant crisis.

The TIP report said T&T has not met the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.

It said T&T remains at Tier 2 level (countries which do not fully meet the minimum standards of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) but are making significant efforts to do so.

The Embassy said T&T has held its Tier 2 ranking since 2017.

Rowley questioned how the US could grade T&T on refugee related issues when it has children dying on its borders “in cages.”

— Compiled by Azad Ali

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