Caribbean RoundUp

Caribbean

The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has approved US$750,000 to fund a program that will assist the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) with strengthening regional trade.

Five countries — Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Guyana, St. Lucia and Suriname — will benefit from three interventions to be implemented by the CARICOM Regional Organization for Standards and Quality (CROSQ).

CDB Director of Projects Daniel Best said the program will assist producers with overcoming some of the challenges encountered when trying to export their products and will therefore enhance their ability to increase market access, penetrate new markets and integrate into global value chains.

He noted that some of the key constraints manufacturers, exporters and service providers in the CARICOM face are caused by non-tariff trade barriers otherwise known as Technical Barriers to Trade (TBTs).

The CDB-funded intervention will assist with bringing Regional goods in line with international standards.

Dominica

Six months after a powerful Category 5 hurricane hit Dominica, the Caribbean country has made major progress in restoring routes to and from the island, essential services and amenities and transportation.

CEO of the Discover Dominica Authority Colin Piper said the government has made significant progress in getting the island ready for guests to witness the beautiful scenery and features that make Dominica the Nature Island of the Caribbean.

He said Dominica has full connectivity to international and regional markets with regular flights offered by regional carriers including LIAT, Seaborne Airlines, WINAIR, Air Sunshine and most recently, the Inter-Caribbean Airways.

As of March 22, 2018, interCaribbean has started operating nonstop scheduled services between Dominica, St. Lucia, and Tortola.

The Douglas Charles Airport, located at Melville Hall, and the Canefield Airport have welcomed passengers since October 2017. Connections are available to Barbados, Antigua, San Juan, St. Maarten, St. Kitts, St. Thomas, St. Lucia, St. Croix and St. Thomas.

Jamaica

Jamaica’s newly appointed Commissioner of Police, Major General Antony Anderson, said the states of public emergency now in place in two parishes of St. Catherine is helping in reducing murders.

A spate of murders and rampant crime in parts of the southeastern parish of St. Catherine prompted the government to declare a state of emergency recently, on the heels of a state of public emergency in St. James, which was declared in January and has been extended until May 2.

The top cop explained that the states of emergency enable the security forces to undertake criminal activities that they would not have been able to do previously.

The commissioner of police emphasized that “sustained pressure” by the security forces is integral to maintaining law and order in key areas.

St. Kitts

The St. Kitts and Nevis government has become the first Caribbean country to have its own unique identifier on the global internet.

An autonomous system number, called an ASN, was assigned to the Caribbean country by the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) on March 7, 2018.

An ASN is used to identify a computer network on the global internet and is an important part of the system used to exchange data between the thousands of network that make up the internet.

Previously, the St. Kitts and Nevis government network was connected to the Internet through a number assigned by a commercial Internet service provider.

Now, with its own autonomous system number, the government joins the ranks of other independent network operators around the world that are identifiable by a unique number.

St. Lucia

Human Rights Watch (HRW) is urging St. Lucia and other eastern Caribbean countries to repeal colonial buggery laws.

The organization said the laws have broad latitude, are vaguely worded, and serve to legitimize discrimination and hostility towards lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) in the Eastern Caribbean.

According to HRW, the laws give social and legal sanction for discrimination, stigma and prejudice against LGBT individuals, by singling out those groups in a discriminatory manner.

HRW disclosed that upon interviewing various citizens of the Eastern Caribbean countries, it was discovered that members of the LGBT community fear coming out to the families or communities, due to experiences of already being ostracized for their identity.

The organization urged Eastern Caribbean countries to repeal all laws that criminalize consensual activity among same-sex couple, pass laws defining rape in gender-neural ways, and conduct awareness raising campaigns for the LGBT community.

Trinidad

US President Donald Trump has nominated 80-year-old Joseph N Mondello, a politician, attorney and university professor, to become the new ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago.

He will replace Trinidad and Tobago-born John Estrada who left office in January last year.

Trump’s nomination of Mondello was announced in a White House statement recently.

However, Mondello’s nomination is not yet a done deal, as Trump’s nominations must be endorsed by the US Congress Foreign Relations Committee.

Mondello, a prominent New York attorney, has served as counsel at Berkman, Henoch, Peterson, Peddy, & Fenchel, PC (Professional Corporation) of Garden City, New York since 1997.

He has been chairman of the Nassau County Republican Committee in Westbury, New York since 1983. From 2006 to 2009, he was concurrently Republican chairman of the New York Republican State Committee among other achievements.

– Compiled by Azad Ali

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