Caribbean RoundUp

The cruise port of St. John’s in Antigua, Caribbean.
Getty Images / Jan-Schneckenhaus

Antigua

Antigua and Barbuda recorded one million visitors in 2018, topping the figure in 2017.

This is according to figures released by the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority (ABTA) recently.

Speaking during the recent budget debate Prime Minister, Gaston Browne said there were “impressive” tourist arrivals last year.

ABTA said the destination attracted a total of 1,081, 365 visitors in 2018, which is an increase from 2017, when Antigua and Barbuda hit the one million-visitor-mark for the first time with 1,059, 924 visitors.

The Authority said the most impressive growth was seen in stayover (air) arrivals, where the destination attracted more than 20,000 more stayover visitors in 2018 than in 2017.

This brought the total number of stayover visitors who arrived via the V.C Bird International to 268,949, ABTA said, which represented an 8.75 percent increase. in stayover arrivals for the year 2018.

ABTA said the destination also received more cruise ship visitors, with the cruise arrivals totaling 792,873, while arrivals by yacht totaled 19,543.

Dominica

The Dominica government has signed an EC$200 million agreement with Irish-based telecommunications company, Digicel, to meet the growing telecommunication and information communication and technology (ICT) needs of the island.

The 15-year agreement ends a 50-year monopoly that was previously enjoyed by the British-owned Cable & Wireless.

Deputy Prime Minister, Reginald Austrie described the agreement as a historic one, saying it is a clear indication that the government’s decision-making process is in keeping with the principles of transparency and non-discriminatory with an award being made on merit and established protocol.

Austrie said that five corporate companies had submitted bids and the Roosevelt Skerrit administration was “satisfied that Digicel will provide the government with a range of quality services and deliver a robust, resilient high capacity and smart network to meet the growing telecommunication and ICT needs within the public service and to the people.”

He said the network had been designed in keeping with the government’s thrust to make the island the first climate-resilient country in the world.

Guyana

Guyana Police Commissioner Leslie James has confirmed that an investigation has been launched into a report of bribery and alleged plans to move gold out of the country against former government Member of Parliament (MP) Charrandass Persaud.

James told a press conference recently the matter is a national security issue which “will not be disclosed publicly” at this point.

He said if the need arises, the necessary actions will be taken to have Perdaud return to Guyana.

Since Persaud voted in favor of the opposition motion of no confidence against the government, essentially triggering its collapse, he has come under severe attacks from APNU/AFC MPs, officials of the Guyana government and others.

Persaud has denied being bribed for his vote. He said he voted to his conscience and left the day after for Canada.

Jamaica

Authorities in the United Kingdom are moving to deport a group of 50 Jamaicans who were convicted there for a range of criminal offences.

Jamaican officials say the deportees are expected to arrive on the island on Feb. 26, 2019 on board a special chartered flight.

They will be accompanied by more than 100 British security personnel, and law enforcement officials.

Jamaica’s National Security Minister Dr. Horace Chang has confirmed that he has signed a document recently giving approval for the aircraft to land in Jamaica. He said the police have been alerted.

On arrival the deportees will be taken to a facility for processing, where the police will determine whether they have an interest in further investigations.

St. Kitts

The development and implementation of a drug policy for school will be among matters to be discussed when health and family education coordinators and other stakeholders from across the Caribbean Forum (Cariforum) meet later this month in St. Lucia.

The Guyana-based Cariforum Secretariat is expected to develop the draft model school policy that will be subsequently reviewed and validated by member states before submission to the Council for Human and Social Development for endorsement.

It is expected that the policy will guide the countries in the formulation of their national policies where necessary.

Legislation and the School Drug Policy and the way forward will be central features of the three plenary sessions.

St. Lucia

St. Lucia police are investigating photographs on social media depicting students in uniforms holding what appear to be firearms.

Assistant Commissioner of Police responsible for Crime and Intelligence, Wayne Charlery, said the police have received photos and presently the intelligence team is investigating with regard to those photos.

Consequently, he said, to that assessment the police would decide how they would move forward.

Charlery said the guns appear to be real, adding “this is why we are taking it so seriously.”

Trinidad

United States Ambassador Joseph Mondello has slammed the Trinidad and Tobago government for continuing to recognize Nicholas Maduro as president of Venezuela.

In a release headed, “Democracy and prosperity require touch choices,” Mondello stated.

“Venezuelan Interim President Juan Guaido and the democratically elected National Assembly have the full recognition and resolute support of the United States of America and the majority of democracies in the Western Hemisphere. I find the official statements from the Government of Trinidad and Tobago recognizing the undemocratic and illegitimate government of Nicholas Maduro to be deeply concerning.

“Democracy and prosperity require tough choices. I and the entire US Embassy are committed to maintaining mutually beneficial bilateral relations with the Government and people of Trinidad and Tobago,” the statement said.

Mondello’s plain talk followed the T&T government resolution to uphold a non-interference policy that respects Venezuela’s sovereignty, which was backed by Caricom at an emergency meeting that included Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Rowley.

Massive protests erupted in Venezuela a week ago with its opposition leader, Juan Guaido, rejecting Maduro’s contested swearing in recently, to a second term and declaring himself interim president.

— Compiled by Azad Ali

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