Caribbean RoundUp

Members of the CARICOM delegation to the Special COTED Meeting on agriculture that was conducted via video conference anchored at the CARICOM Secretariat.
CARICOM

Antigua:

A high court judge in Antigua has jailed a former senior pilot with Caribbean Helicopters, Colin Murraine, to five years in prison for possession of a controlled drug, nine years for possession with intent to supply and two years for attempted exportation of a controlled drug.

He was found guilty of the charges last month and the sentences were handed down last week by Justice Stanly John.

However, Justice John ruled that the sentences would run currently and also fined him EC$300,000 which if not paid would result in a further year in jail.

Murraine was among four people detained by the Office of National Drug and Money Laundering Control Policy (ONDCP) on February 2, 2018 on a private aircraft that was preparing to take off from VC Bird International Airport.

A police statement then noted that the other persons, including two foreign pilots, were released and that the aircraft, on which an estimated 105 pounds of cocaine valued EC$1.7 million had been seized, remained in custody as part of the ongoing investigation.

Barbados:

Tourism and International Transport Minister, Kerrie Symmonds said the cruise ship industry could rebound to its benefit in the months ahead after COVID-19.

He said the government demonstrated commitment to cruise ships home, porting in Barbados’ waters amid the coronavirus.

Symmonds said the country’s humanitarian approach to the issue was already seeing positive results with the possibility of a Southern Caribbean Cruise Alliance allowing for a cruise itinerary in the summer being on the cards for Barbados.

Several cruise ships are have been anchoring in Barbados’ waters after the International Cruise Ship Association suspended all cruises for a one-month period in the first instance.

Passengers on board the cruise ships were repatriated back to their countries, while efforts are still ongoing to do the same for some crew members who remain on the island.

“I don’t think that there have been any negatives for Barbados, in terms of our relationships for partnering with the cruise lines as we did. The fact of the matter is that, first of all, we honored contracts that we had to honor internationally,” he said.

Guyana:

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) agriculture ministers have warned that while there are adequate food supplies in the region now, Caribbean countries should stimulate local production to meet future demands.

A CARICOM statement said this is one of the recommendations contained in a framework document the ministers have accepted in principle to deal with the availability and accessibility of food in CARICOM , in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It said ministers and other stakeholders met in a special session of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) recently via video conferencing to consider the impact the pandemic was likely to have on food and nutrition security in the region.

Belize Minister of Food and Agriculture, Godwin Hulse who chaired the meeting said food security response was fundamental, given the uncertainty of the pandemic.

CARICOM Assistant Secretary General, Trade and Economic Integration, Joseph Cox said as the global community continued to grapple with the impact of the virus, recognition had to be given to the fact that the community’s approach had to be more different.

Jamaica:

Jamaica police have recorded 16 murders during a 48-hours period a week ago.

Among the spate of murders the police are investigating were the killing of 57-year-old Dalton Shippy, who was allegedly bludgeoned to death by his brother, in Hanover, a parish on the north western tip of the island, and Dalmory Christie, 22, who was fatally shot in St. Catherine, southeast of the capital, Kingston, allegedly by his uncle.

The day before, Demar Gordon, 33, was fatally shot in the Lime Tree Crescent area of Flanker in what is believed to be reprisal killing, while three people were killed in separate incidents in the St. Andrew police division. The killings included a triple murder in South St Andrew where a state of emergency is in effect.

Figures released by the police show that from Jan. 1, to March 2020 this year, at least 306 people were killed across Jamaica- a two percent increase over the similar period last year.

St. Lucia:

Governor General, Sir Neville Cennac has declared a state of emergency in St. Lucia saying the he is “satisfied that a public emergency has risen” as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The government had earlier announced the closure of the island’s two airports “to all incoming commercial and private flights effective midnight on March 23, 2020.

It said that measure is part of the efforts to contain the spread or importation of new cases of COVID-19.

The government had already closed schools, imposed travel restrictions and scaled back non-essential services in an effort to contain the disease.

The announcement by Sir Neville comes as chief medical officer Dr Sharon Belma-George announced the island’s third case of the virus.

Trinidad:

From Sunday midnight (March 29) citizens of T&T are ordered to stay at home until April 15, 2020.

This was the warning Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Rowley issued on Thursday at a press conference at the Diplomatic Center, Port of Spain as he announced stringent measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

He said; “unless you are deemed to be involved in essential operations of the country you are to separate, isolate and quarantine.”

There has been one death so far that of a 77-year-old Trinidad-born American citizen, Hansley “Hanny” Leon of Brooklyn, New York, who was a regular visitor for Carnival and came into the country on Feb. 5, 2020. He died at hospital from the COVID-19 virus last Wednesday. There have been 65 positive cases of the virus so far in the country.

Dr. Rowley said that all the essential services would be opened, banks, supermarkets, media, public and private health services.

He said there is a huge chunk of the country that still has to function as a response to the virus.

For those who violate the stay-home advice, the police will enforce the law, with the full support of the Defense Force.

However, he made it clear that it was not a lockdown of the country or a State of Emergency.

compiled by Azad Ali

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