Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne recently visited the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where he held bilateral discussions with Dr. Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, minister of climate change and environment for the UAE.
During the meeting, Al Zeyoudi thanked Browne for his participation in the World Government Summit and offered his concern to the government and people of Antigua and Barbuda regarding the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma.
Browne in his response also thanked the minister for his kind words and emphasized the strength and cooperation between both countries.
The prime minister also thanked the UAE government for the $10 million pledged to the region after the destruction of the hurricanes and in particular the amount pledged to Barbuda.
Browne also thanked the UAE for the approval of the $3.1 million pledge last year for the green Barbuda project.
He noted the ongoing challenges regarding a green Barbuda and the set back the hurricane cause in advancing the project.
Al Zeyoudi, indicated his country’s willingness to assist in this regard.
The catastrophic hurricanes that devastated several Caribbean destinations last September had slowed down on the tourism progress but did not affect regional tourism.
This is according to figures released by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO).
CTO’s acting director of research, Ryan Skeete announced at a news conference to a global audience that the Caribbean reached the 30-million mark in stay-over arrivals for the first time every last year, even as the region battled the effects of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, as well as Hurricane Harvey, which lashed parts of the United States, the Caribbean’s primary market.
Skeete said in addition, there was a record-spend by visitors, who contributed US$37 billion to Caribbean economies during the 12-month period, up from 2.6 percent over 2016.
The Guyana government is engaged in ongoing discussions with Air Canada, Delta and JetBlue to add Georgetown to their route map, especially that Guyana will finally complete the expansion and modernization of the Cheddi Jagan Airport this year.
The government is keen to have at least two big-name airlines land at the new airport before the end of 2018 to commemorate the opening of the modern airport.
One of the biggest concerns these airlines have had with Guyana in the past has been the high cost of jet fuel. Jet fuel at the Cheddi Jagan Airport was one of the most expensive in the region but has been reduced since the government broke the oil monopoly at airport.
Two airlines have confirmed that the cost of jet fuel at the airport has been reduced.
With at least two more airlines flying to Guyana there will be more business travelers connecting via New York, Miami, Toronto and Panama City to Guyana.
The Jamaica government has engaged a team from the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO / WHO / to assist in the development of a national health insurance scheme.
Health Minister, Dr. Christopher Tufton said last year the government brought in a team from PAHO / WHO to help look at healthcare financing.
He said that in another three months the consultants will present a proposal, which it is anticipated will move the country towards a national health insurance scheme.
Dr. Tufton said the completed document will be examined and determination made as to its implementation.
He noted that very few Jamaicans have health insurance and that with the increasing health risks, it is essential that all citizens have access to quality services.
The Minister said only about 20 percent of persons are insured and of that 20, about l0 percent are government employees and eight percent are in the private sector.
Dr. Turfton noted that the national health insurance scheme aims to provide coverage for all, and that is in line with government’s policy to ensure that all Jamaicans, particularly the vulnerable, have the most basic health insurance coverage.
He said the national health insurance scheme will ensure that the health sector has an effective model in place that enables persons to make contributions over time.
Cable News Network (CNN) has named the Park Hyatt St. Kitts at the top of the list of the 14 best new hotels and resorts opening in the Caribbean.
CNN said this splashy five-star resort isn’t just the first Park Hyatt development in the Caribbean.
The Park Hyatt St Kitts is set within the Christope Harbor development and boasts sandy beaches and views to the neighboring island of Nevis.
The project was partly financed by the country’s citizenship-by-investment scheme, which allows investors who made an investment not only to take a share in the hotel, but also to apply for citizenship of the island state, subject to due diligence.
The country has recently reduced the government fees for such real estate related to investments, making proposition even more attractive.
St. Kitts and Nevis’ citizenship-by-investment program is the oldest and most established in the region.
The Opposition United Congress (UNC) said the Trinidad and Tobago government had destabilized the country with its lack of information sharing in the face of the admission from Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley that there is an ISIS terror cell in Trinidad and Tobago.
MP Dr. Roodlal Moonilal said when the prime minister was questioned in the Parliament on the alleged plot to disrupt Carnival last week he continued to be vague saying that it was a threat to disrupt the recent carnival.
He said the fact that Rowley, the police, or the US Embassy shared any details of the threat fueled fear among citizens.
“The lack of response and transparency will fuel fear and the government is guilty of destabilizing the national community on this matter,” Moonilal said.
A total of 15 suspects who were detained by the police in connection with the terror plot have all been released.
– Compiled by Azad Ali