Caribbean RoundUp

CARICOM Heads at the 39th Regular Meeting, Montego Bay, Jamaica.
https://www.caricom.org

Barbados

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has served notice that a second phase of measures will be needed to help Barbados’ economic recovery.

The warning came in a statement issued at the end of a July 2–12 visit to the island by an IMF team, led by Bert van Selm, which held discussions with various stakeholders on a pending IMF-supported economic recovery and transformation plan.

The IMF team said fiscal consolidation alongside a comprehensive debt-restructuring exercise is critical for restoring debt sustainability and police credibility.

It added that the budget approved in Parliament on June 11, in which Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Mia Mottley announced a Bds$1.2 billion was “a decisive step in the right direction.”

The IMF said significant progress had been made during this staff visit on the plan that could underpin financial support from the IMF.

Guyana

The Guyanese government wants small contractors in Guyana to benefit from at least 20 percent of government contracts.

Minister of State Joseph Harmon said the David Granger administration is revising the preconditions of the laws governing contracts to ensure contractors get a share of work.

Harmon made the promise at a community meeting in Linden when he addressed the complaint of a resident of the mining town who complained he had spent millions of dollars tendering for contracts but was never able to qualify.

The minister acknowledged that giving government work to small businesses was important.

Harmon said several proposals have been made on this matter, and he alluded to the system in Jamaica which requires big contractors to show in their tendering that they are also accommodating small businesses.

Harmon said he has already met with the small contractors’ association and assured them the government is working toward bringing fairness in this regard. However, he stressed that for small contractors to benefit, they must register their businesses.

Jamaica

From Aug. 1, 2018, all CARICOM member states are to have in place procedures on the refusal of entry of CARICOM nationals traveling across the region.

The procedures, which will be applied at the border of each country, were adopted by CARICOM leaders during the recent 39th Regular Meeting of the Conference of CARICOM Heads of Government which was held in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

CARICOM chairman Jamaica Prime Minister Andrew Holness said the procedures will guide border officials on how they should treat nationals who are refused entry.

Holness said the refusal of entry of CARICOM nationals “is a matter of great importance to many.”

This, he said, will safeguard the rights of all community nationals moving across the region.

The leaders also agreed that a harmonized form will be used by the country’s immigration when refusing entry.

Haiti

The United Nations has assured the Haitian government of the organization’s support for its efforts to prepare against hurricanes and stamp out cholera.

The assurance came from Mark Lowcock, undersecretary-general for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, who recently completed his first official mission to Haiti and Panama.

He said it was important for the mission to take place at the start of the hurricane season to ensure regional efforts to prepare for natural disasters.

The United Nations official noted that Haiti has been hit by successive natural disasters over the past decade and added that the UN relief chief met with people who are still struggling in the wake of disasters.

Lowock said that after an earthquake, hurricanes, floods and recurring drought, Haitians’ remarkable resilience has been proven.

He held talks with authorities in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, where he reiterated the United Nations’ support for the government’s disaster preparedness.

St. Kitts

St. Kitts and Nevis Opposition Leader Dr. Denzil Douglas has won his right to sit in Parliament, even though he had a Dominica diplomatic passport.

High Court Judge Trevor War ruled that the civil suit brought by Cuthbert Mills “was an abuse of the process,” since it had come after Attorney General Vincent Byron had already filed a similar claim.

Mills had submitted that Douglas is not qualified to be the Parliamentary representative for the constituency of St. Christopher because he had a Dominica diplomatic passport.

Attorneys representing Douglas during a two-hour hearing asked the judge that the claim be struck out.

Justice Ward agreed with the former prime minister’s legal team that Mills’ claim amounted to an abuse of the process of the court, having being filed after Bryon’s claim.

The court ruled that under the constitution, Mills was not allowed to bring a second claim or to intervene.

Trinidad

The Trinidad and Tobago government has passed the controversial Anti-Terrorism Amendment Bill 208. The bill was passed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate unanimously.

Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi said the passage of the bill was connected to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meeting in Miami and Paris later this year.

He said right now FATF is evaluating Trinidad and Tobago’s action plan to deal with terrorism and terrorist financing.

The attorney general warned that the next round of FATF will be more severe than this one.

While the war on terrorism has gone in a positive direction, Al-Rawi said Trinidad and Tobago and the rest of the world must accept that “terrorism is something that mutates.”

There are stiff penalties in the legislation: 25 years in jail and TT $5 million for joining a terrorist organization.

— compiled by Azad Ali

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