Austria has expressed an interest in cooperating with Antigua and Barbuda to forge closer relations in areas of tourism and diplomatic relations.
This was conveyed to Prime Minister Gaston Browne during a visit to Antigua by Marianne Feldman, Austrian ambassador to the Eastern Caribbean.
Browne, in his response reaffirmed Antigua and Barbuda’s full commitment to cooperating with the Austrian government.
He made a request to the Austrian ambassador to consider opening an embassy in Antigua.
The Central Bank of the Bahamas (CBOB) reported that the tourism industry expanded during the first month of 2018, following a 2.1 percent decline in 2017.
According to the CBOB Monthly Economic and Financial Development report, data from Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD) showed passenger traffic increased by eight percent in January, in comparison to a 0.1 percent increase in the same period last year.
Data in the MEFD from the Ministry of Tourism showed that the 2017 numbers took a hit due to a reduction in room capacity on Grand Bahama- the country’s second largest market.
According to the data visitors to the Grand Bahama decreased by 26.6 percent, following a 13.2 percent falloff in the previous year, as the decline in air and sea arrivals were extended to 43.8 percent and 23.5 percent, from 21.3 per cent and 11.6 percent, respectively.
According to the MEFD, in 2017, total visitor, arrivals to The Bahamas fell by 2.1 percent. They also fell by 2.5 percent in the previous year.
It also states that visitors to the capital “slowed significantly” to 1.2 percent from 9.8 percent in the prior year, given that the country’s airlift in 2017 declined by 3.6 percent, versus a 0.8 expansion in 2016.
Barbados’ Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Richard Sealy, has announced a partnership with Copa Airlines that will see the island receiving a twice-weekly service direct from Panama.
The flights coming out of the Tocumen International Airport in Panama City will start on July 17, on an Embraer 190, which offers 84 economy seats and l0 business class.
Copa Airlines is the flag carrier of Panama and one of the leading Latin American providers of passengers and cargo services to countries in North, Central, South America and the Caribbean.
Sealy said the government has been embarking actively on diversifying “our source markets and the Latin American region of course has received attention. This partnership with Copa allows us not only to get business from Colombia and Brazil but also the rest of Latin America and we look forwards to seeing the Latin America market grow tremendously.”
The Guyana Goldfields Inc. (GGI) says it is moving ahead with plans for a US$120 million first underground mining project that could come on stream by 2022.
GCI chief executive officer, Scott Caldwell told reporters that an underground study is being done and the report will be published soon.
He said the risk analysis was done and now it is just a matter when the project will start and it maybe sooner than 2022.
Caldwell, who said the company has paid US$26.5 million in royalties since it began operations in 2015 added “we want to become the premier underground gold miner in Guyana and South America.”
Opposition leader Dr. Denzil Douglas is challenging in the High Court a decision by the government to remove him from Parliament on the grounds that he is a citizen of the Commonwealth of Dominica.
Doulgas has asked the court not only to dismiss the charges that have been brought by the attorney general but also cost for wasting the court’s time.
The St. Kitts-Nevis government is seeking a declaration from the high court that, since the election to the National Assembly on Feb. 16, 2015, Douglas was disqualified from being elected as a member of the National Assembly and was accordingly required to vacate his seat in the National Assembly by reason of him becoming a person who, by virtue of his own act, is in accordance with the law of Dominica, under an acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or state, namely Dominica.
Additionally, the government is also seeking a declaration that Douglas has vacated his seat in the National Assembly, an injunction restraining him from taking his seat in the National Assembly and from performing his functions as a member as well as costs.
Prime Minister Dr. Anthony Harris has described the matter as one of grave constitutional, political and parliamentary significance to the Commonwealth.
Douglas has been a legislator since 1989 and served as prime minister for nearly 20 years.
Suriname Finance Minister, Gillmore Hoefdraad has slammed Moody’s Investors Service for the downgrade of the country’s creditworthiness.
Hoefdraad criticized the rating agency for deviating from the procedures followed so far when using ratings.
Moody’s has downgraded the long-term issuer and senior unsecured rating for the government of Suriname to B2 from B1. The outlook was changed to “negative’ from “rating under review,” which concluded the review for downgrade that commenced on Nov. 22, 2017, the agency announced recently.
Moody’s in its assessment said that Suriname’s B2 rating balances the deterioration in fiscal metrics against an improvement in the external accounts and favorable investment prospects driven by the mining sector.
The agency said Suriname faces challenges in the form of institutional constraints, which may limit the government’s ability to carry out a comprehensive reform agenda.
Controversy is brewing over Trinidad and Tobago President Anthony Carmona granting the country’s Chief Justice Ivor Archie six-month sabbatical from performing his designated duties.
Archie will instead be focusing on the publication of a research paper titled, “How have labor laws in the Caribbean developed differently from other jurisdiction given out unique legislation and constitutional framework.”
The chief justice is going to the Federal Judicial Center (FJC) in Washington DC, where he will take up the fellowship.
He told the president that the FJC has approved his application to be its Visiting Foreign Judicial Fellow for a period of six months in 2018 from March to August 2018.
In his application for leave the Chief Justice told President Carmona, “I wish to step back a bit from the onerous demands of my position and to rest, reflect and undertake a program of study that will have important implications for the jurisprudence of Trinidad and Tobago, as well as other Caribbean states.”
Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley has written to President Carmona seeking clarification on the legal authority for the granting of sabbatical leave to Chief Justice Archie.
Archie’s leave comes at a time when his conduct in office is being questioned by the Law Association.
– Compiled by Azad Ali