Caribbean RoundUp

Family and friends transport the coffin that contain the remains of a protester who was recently killed, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019. Hundreds of people attended the funerals for people killed during anti-government protests, three of whom were allegedly shot by police while participating in the protests.
Associated Press / Dieu Nalio Chery

Barbados

The newly-established Barbados Medicinal Cannabis Licensing Authority is getting ready to start issuing licenses next month.

This is according to Minister of Agriculture, Indar Weir who hinted at the possibility of Barbadians having to make “heavy investment in order to get going” into the new industry under which the government will allow the cultivation of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

He is hoping that the first license would be ready to be issued before February but not later than the end of the month.

The agriculture minister said while Barbadians will not be left out of the new industry they must be prepared to make heavy investments in order to get going.

He said Barbados’ marijuana sector is not small business activity only, it calls for huge investment in research and development.

Barbados is the latest CARICOM country to get involved in the cultivation of marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes.

Last month, the Barbados Parliament gave the green light for people to be in possession of up to 30 grams (one ounce) of marijuana while lawmakers are yet to debate the legislation regarding the establishment of the appropriate authority to manage the sector.

Antigua and Barbuda, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Jamaica have all passed legislation allowing for investments in the marijuana industry.

Caribbean

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has expressed concern at the ongoing political, economic, humanitarian and social situation in Haiti.

CARICOM chairman and Barbados, Prime Minister Mia Mottley said the 15-member grouping is “particularly concerned about the several incidents of violence and the associated and tragic loss of life,” adding, “The current crisis has adversely affected all sectors of the society and has brought about severe hardship for the people of Haiti.”

She said it is urgent for all stakeholders in the country to engage in constructive and meaningful dialogue, in a spirit of good faith and concern for the nation and towards resolving this prolonged crisis.

“The recent decision taken by the major stakeholders to ensure that the children of the country can resume schooling as a new school term resumes is an important step forward,” she said.

“We shall liaise with the Haitian government to facilitate a visit by an advanced team led by the secretary-general to explore with the government and people of Haiti and other interested parties an acceptable way forward towards alleviating the present crisis,” Mottley said.

Jamaica

The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) said it would be placing greater emphasis on training and educating members and other stakeholders on domestic violence after a member of the Jamaica Defense Force (JDF) allegedly killed his lover and then committed suicide.

The JCF said that the initiative will help members recognize and handle domestic violence related matters in keeping with legislation.

The JCF said in a statement: “Our officers of the JCF understand that domestic violence is one of those activities that can lead to major crimes and early intervention is necessary to save lives.”

It said that the issue of domestic violence is a “persistent problem” that has negatively impacted Jamaica’s crime statistics and urged citizens to utilize the domestic violence intervention centers that were established to deal with cases of domestic violence.

The JCF statement follows the murder of two women recently by their partners, including a 34-year-old nurse, Suianne Easy, who was chopped and killed.

St. Kitts

Chairman of the Cannabis Core Committee, Dr. Wycliffe Baird, says he believes the establishment of a marijuana industry in St Kitts/Nevis should be primarily for the benefit of the people of the twin-island federation.

He thinks the industry should be built primarily for the benefit of local persons saying that he don’t think that any foreigners should be allowed to come to St Kitts and dominate, as it were, the industry and then employ local people.

Baird said while he understands that foreign input in the creation of such an industry is crucial “in terms of dominating the industry and getting all the benefits, the benefit should accrue to the people”.

Last August, Prime Minister, Dr. Timothy Harris said the decision of his administration to introduce legislation aimed at decriminalization small amounts of marijuana for medicinal and other purposes was a step towards the country consolidating its freedom from slavery.

He said the government has introduced legislation to “expunge the records of those criminalized.”

The government announced the establishment of a broad-based Cannabis Core Committee of experts to provide technical support to further advance the work towards the decriminalization of cannabis and the establishment of a marijuana industry in the federation.

St. Lucia

St. Lucia has recorded its highest number of stayover visitors last year.

Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet says his administration will be making every effort to improve the tourism sector as for the first time in St. Lucia’s history, “we have recorded over 400,000 stayover arrivals- an increase of about 7.1 percent to date.”

This, he said, was an extraordinary performance topped off an already successful year for the destination which also saw the island winning the World’s Leading Honeymoon Destination for a record 11th time.

Chastanet wrote on his Facebook page: “As our country continues to enjoy record-breaking arrivals, throughout this year our government will be making a concerted effort via game-changing policies and projects to ensure more St Lucians benefit from these exceptional performances.”

Earlier Minister of Tourism, Dominic Fedee said, “coming in at 422, 600 plus visitors, it means that this would have been the best year that we have had in the history of recording St Lucian statistics.”

Trinidad

Thousands of visitors who would be coming for Trinidad and Tobago Carnival, Piarco International Airport has been put on high alert and is continuing to screen passengers for the deadly Chinese coronavirus.

So far more than 100 flights had been scanned and a total of 8,000 passengers screened. All were given the all clear.

The measure was implemented in light of the spread of the coronavirus which originated in Wukhan, China recently.

The virus has killed more than 41 people and infected 1,400 since its discovery.

The virus has since spread from China, with cases being confirmed in France, the United States, Australia and several Asian countries.

Last week Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh visited Piarco Airport along with health officials to check on the thermo-scanning equipment being used to scree passengers.

There has been no confirmed case of the virus in the Caribbean and according to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the risk remains low in the region.

CARPHA executive director Dr. Joy St John said in a statement last week working closely with international health partners to respond to the health threat and provide timely advice and support to Caribbean member states.

This 2019-nCov virus is a new strain of coronavirus that has been previously identified in humans.

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