Barbados Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator Maxine McClean says the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons pose a grave threat to Barbados and the rest of the Caribbean.
Speaking during the Open Debate on Peace and Security Challenges Facing Small Island Developing States (SIDS) at the UN Security Council in New York recently, she said: “On a day-to-day basis, we must focus on the trade in small arms and light weapons which facilitates traffic in illicit drugs and other organized crime, and which undermines our economy and can destabilize society”.
McClean said the situation was made worse by the many vulnerabilities which commonly characterized SIDS, such as narrow resource bases, small domestic markets, susceptibility to external shocks and environmental vulnerability.
“These threats are made more significant because of the geography of SIDS, Often of small land mass, their air and maritime borders are multiple times larges. The cost to protect national borders is thus rendered prohibitive and difficult,” she said.
Taken together, the foreign minister said, these threats to peace and security required the diversion of already limited resources at a significant cost to national development.
She pointed out to the Security Council that CARICOM heads of government had reiterated the threat and committed to implementing all necessary actions at the national and regional level to combat the illicit trade, in the 2011 CARICOM Declaration on Small Arms and Light Weapons.
An agreement amounting to US$1.5 million has been signed with China towards purchasing police vehicles and equipment as well as the training of policemen and women.
National Security Minister Rayburn Blackmore who made the announcement recently at the commission of a new police station and court in Laplaine, to the east of the capital Roseau, said the agreement is one that deepens ties between both countries.
He said the money is going to be utilized to purchase new vehicles, to train police officers and to invest in equipment for search and rescue.
He said the agreement is with a view to further developing and improving the cooperative relations between the People’s Republic of China and the people of Dominica.
The new police station is financed through a loan from the Social Security fund.
The Guyana government says 12 people, including six Haitians and two Russians, were intercepted at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport when they sought to enter the South American country illegally.
Citizenship Minister Winston Felix said immigration officers had also denied four Cubans and a Colombian from entering the country after they arrived on a COPA Airline flight recently.
He said the foreigners did not have visas or money.
Felix told reporters that the Haitians had produced a letter purportedly issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Guyana granting them entry into the country.
But the minister said that immigration officers have informed him that the use of such letters by illegal migrants is common.
Haitians require visas to enter many Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries even though the French-speaking country is a member of the 15-member CARICOM grouping.
All six Haitians as well as the Colombian were deported and the Russian national was denied entry because she did not meet immigration requirements. But her husband, who did, opted to leave Guyana with her.
A truck crowded with vendors heading to a market went out of control and tipped over Haiti’s northern region recently, killing 18 people and injuring 28, authorities said.
The accident occurred when the truck driver swerved to avoid a motorcycle and the vehicle turned over near the coastal city of Cap-Haitien, said Jean-Henri Petit, a coordinator for the Civil Protection Agency.
He said the truck also was carrying loads of charcoal and wood the passengers had planned to sell at a nearby market.
Petit said the 28 injured were all hospitalized.
Jamaica’s government has identified four potential stages to tax the medicinal ganja industry, in a bid to benefit from seed to sale, according to a draft document entitled the “Regulatory Footprint on Medical Ganja.”
The document which was released recently forms the latest development in the government’s drive to regulate and license a ganja industry.
The stages of potential taxation include a cultivation tax applied to each plant; a license fee and income tax from all licensed and registered entities; a distribution tax applied to each plant; a license fee and income tax from all licensed and registered entities; a distribution tax applied to each package and a sales tax.
Industry Minister Anthony Hylton explained that government needs to identify all possible avenues to tax the industry, for the benefit of the country.
Hylton said his ministry expects to receive recommendations to guide the development of the regulations for the cannabis industry by September, following which, it will be taken to Parliament for debate.
United Airlines will be launching its inaugural non-stop flight from its New Jersey hub at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to St. Kitts, commencing Dec. 19, 2015 and operating weekly on Saturdays through April 30, 2016.
The non-stop flights which will have a capacity ranging from 154 to 166 seats will complement existing airlift into St. Kitts from North America, providing more convenient options for travelers to get to St. Kitts during the peak winter travel season.
Mark Brantley, minister of foreign affairs and aviation for St. Kitts and deputy prime minister of Nevis, said: “We welcome the United Airlines flight from Newark as an integral component of our strategy to provide non-stop airlift from our key international gateways. Our visitor research and stakeholder input have indicated that New Jersey is a very strong market for the Federation and for Nevis, in particular.”
A delegation from Venezuela, led by Venezuela’s Minister of External Affairs, Delcy Rodriguez recently visited St. Lucia to hold talks with Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony and Minister of External Affairs Alva Baptiste to deepen the relations between the two countries.
The Venezuelan delegation was on a regional tour of nine ALBA PertroCaribe member countries, including St. Lucia, in order to strengthen bi-lateral cooperation amongst ALBA PetroCaribe member countries.
Baptiste, accompanied by St. Lucia’s Ambassador to ALBA-TCP and PetroCaribe, Eustace Vitalis attended the ALBA-TCP and PetroCaribe Political Council Meeting in Caracas.
Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) became the ninth country out of 161 members of the World Trade Organization (WTO), to accept the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) on July 29.
T&T is also the first Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member to accept the TFA, a release from the Trade Ministry said.
The TFA is the first multilateral agreement to be completed out of the protracted Doha Development Round (ongoing since 2001).
It provides a series of global measures for expediting the movement, clearance and release of goods. Some major reforms covered by the agreement include disciplines on fees and charges; transparency measures such as the online traders and procedures for faster release and clearance of goods.
The TFA, when globally enforced, is expected to reduce trade costs by 13 percent. Its entry into force requires formal acceptance by at least two-thirds of the WTO membership.
Turks & Caicos Island
Deputy Attorney General in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI), Wyanante Mary Adrien-Roberts, has been appointed as a high court judge of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court and has been assigned to Grenada. She assumes office on Sept. 1, 2015.
“I am delighted that Ms Adien Roberts’ elevation to the High Court bench in the Eastern Caribbean has now been announced,” said TCI Attorney General Rhondalee Braithwaite-Knowles.
On her new appointment, Adrien-Roberts said; “I am thankful for the opportunity to serve the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands in the capacity of deputy attorney general. I will always cherish the time that I spent here in the TCI in particular at the Attorney General’s Chambers.
Adrien-Roberts holds a Bachelor of Laws Degree from the University of the West Indies, a Master of Laws Degree from the George Washington University Law School and the Certificate of Legal Education from the Norman Manley University. She is a former president of the Dominica Bar Association.
— compiled by Azad Ali