Caribbean RoundUp

Guyana’s Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin.
www.business.gov.gy

Barbados

On the heels of a US$290 million Extended Fund Facility (EFF) from the International Monetary (IMF), Barbados was recently granted a US$100 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

The IDB said the loan — the structure and content of which are aligned to the recently approved EFF — will help the country regain macroeconomic stability, implement fiscal adjustment measures that foster a sustainable fiscal balance in the short and medium term and protect social spending programs for the most vulnerable Barbadians.

The IDB said the loan is funded from the Ordinary Capital and will be disbursed in a single tranche within a year.

The executing agency will be the Barbados Ministry of Finance, Economic Affairs and Investment.

The government has been seeking financial and technical assistance from the IBD and IMF to help formulate a comprehensive economic reform program to stabilize public finances after years of increasing debt and to address the country’s macroeconomic and fiscal crisis.

Bahamas

The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) says it has uncovered a corruption network involving senior Bahamian Immigration officials and justices of peace.

It is reported that in October 2016, the investigation got underway for visa fraud in the Bahamas.

According to the FBI, three Haitians were paid close to US$50,000 to participate as informants in a clandestine covert operation that led to the arrest and indictment of Kevin Desire, Johnlee Paul, Edna St. Fleur and a fourth person whose identity was not disclosed.

The FBI has implicated the Director of Immigration, William Pratt, and his immediate predecessor, Clarence Russell, in accepting bribes to provide Bahamian work permits and work visas to facilitate entry of Haitian nationals in the United States of America by making their visa application more likely to be approved.

Meanwhile, police said Edward Israel Saintil, a Bahamian suspected of being the leader of the network was arrested last September in the District of Colombia during a trap set by the FBI.

Saintil, the holder of a Bahamian passport and a Haitian passport, was held when he came to collect US$14,000 to smuggle a Haitian national in the country and organize a marriage with a United States citizen.

Grenada

Grenada is seeing a significant increase in the number of children affected by the hand, foot and mouth disease when compared to 2016.

Epidemiologist Dr. Shawn Charles said this infection is seasonal with diagnosing mainly occurring during the months of February / March and October / November and this coincides with the spring and fall period in the United States.

He noted that this viral infection is a seasonal problem which is not an outbreak but a significant increase.

According to figures released, in 2016 Grenada had 86 cases, in 2017 there were 12 cases and to date, there are 80 recorded cases.

Dr. Charles said that the infection which is spread by secretion fluids is most contagious during the first week.

He said there is no treatment for the infectious disease.

The symptoms of the hand-foot-and mouth disease include ulcers, or sores, inside or around the mouth and a rash or blisters on the hands, feet, legs or buttocks.

Guyana

Guyana’s Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin said the revenues expected from the new oil and gas sector will form the catalyst for the growth of several industries, including tourism.

He told a forum on oil and gas and tourism that successful oil discoveries have put Guyana on the map and revenues from the new industry could help the tourism sector reach its full potential.

The minister said people are coming to Guyana and they are coming because they see Guyana as a land of opportunity adding that has a currency that can be exploited for tourism purposes.

Gaskin reiterated the David Ganger government’s position that it will not become dependent on oil and gas at the expense of other industries.

Jamaica

The Jamaica government is taking a proactive approach towards the development of a policy on National Disaster Risk Financing.

A statement from the Ministry of Finance said that the policy is set against the backdrop that between l993 and 2003, Jamaica suffered from 26 natural disasters which resulted in total losses and damage of US$2.2 billion.

Minister of Finance, Nigel Clarke said the government has taken a proactive approach by laying the groundwork for the drafting of a policy that will see Jamaica being more independent and responsive when disaster strike.

He said the development of a Policy on Natural Disaster Risk Financing is expected to create greater transparency and efficiencies in the mobilization and execution of public expenditure to manage disaster risk.

Critical components of the policy will include provisions for the establishment of a contingency fund to be dubbed the National Catastrophic Disaster Reserve Fund to assist Jamaica in developing fiscal resilience to natural disaster.

Trinidad

Trinidad and Tobago recently took part in the First China International Import Exposition (CIIE) which was held in Shanghai, China.

CIIE was co-hosted by the Ministry of Commerce of China and Shanghai Municipal People’s Government with the support of the World Trade Organization (WTO), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCATD) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

As part of CIIE, products from Trinidad and Tobago’s leading and emerging manufacturers were displayed in a joint Trinidad and Tobago/CARICOM Pavilion which was visited by more than 300,000 international buyers who attended the event from Nov. 5 to 10, 2018.

— Compiled by Azad Ali

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