Caribbean RoundUp June 26

Barbados' Prime Minister Mia Mottley speaks during the 2019 United Nations Climate Action Summit at U.N. headquarters in New York City, New York, U.S., Sept. 23, 2019.
REUTERS / Carlo Allegri, File

Antigua

Regional carrier, LIAT, will be extending the temporary lay-offs of pilots for three months.

In a letter to the pilots from the Human Resource Manager, Samantha May Francis, she attributed the decision to the “chronic fiscal turbulence experienced by the regional airline, now made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

She said that throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the airline has operated limited services, but this was not enough to cover the company’s costs.

However, LIAT assured employees they would continue to receive medical insurance coverage and staff travel privileges during this period.

Concerning commercial passenger services, earlier this month, the airline’s Chief Executive Officer, Julie Reifer-Jones said those services will remain suspended until June 30.

Barbados

Barbados Prime Minister, Mia Mottley said that the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping is vulnerable to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and has appealed for a truly global response to the pandemic.

Mottley, who is also chairman of the 15-member regional integration grouping, in addressing the extraordinary Inter-Sessional Summit of the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) renewed her call for multilateralism and a global leadership initiative that brings together not just governments, but other people of influence, insisting that it is the behavior of individuals that has to change.

The one-day virtual meeting was held under the theme “Transcending the COVID-19: Building Resilience through Global Solidarity” and consisted of dialogue by the heads of state and governments of the OACPs.

The summit was based on three pillars, namely: “building resilience; keeping economies functioning and rebooting for strong recovery: and boosting global solidarity and deepening partnerships.”

Mottley told the summit that “the recovery of economic growth and jobs in one country cannot be achieved without recovery or economic growth in other countries that provide either the goods or alternatively purchase the goods.”

Caribbean

The annual July Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders’ summit has been postponed to later this year because of the effect of the coronavirus (COVID-19) that have severely affected regional countries.

A virtual meeting was carded for July 3 when Barbados Prime Minister, Mia Mottely would have handed over the chairmanship of the 15-member grouping to St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves for the next six months.

The regional leaders are likely to meet in St. Vincent, the venue of the July summit, on Sept. 2 and 3 for a “face-to-face” meeting of the grouping.

Many Caribbean countries are now emerging from a virtual lockdown of their borders and economies as they implement measures to prevent the spread of the virus that has so far killed 432,000 people and infected eight million others worldwide since it was first detected in China last December.

CARICOM countries have reported in excess of 6,000 positive cases of the virus, with Haiti, moving closer to 4,500 and Jamaica 621, among the regional countries with the most cases. The number of people killed by the virus is in excess of 100, with Haiti registering the highest, 76.

Grenada

A former adviser to Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell has been slapped with two counts of sexual assault and two counts of indecent assault.

Cletus St. Paul, 63, was placed on EC$20,000 bail when he appeared in court recently.

He is accused of committing the offences against the woman, in her 30s, in November last year when she sought assistance on a housing matter for the state.

St. Paul also served as the chief bodyguard to assassinated Prime Minister, Maurice Bishop during the 1979-83 Grenada Revolution. He is an adviser in the Ministry of National Security.

Police have also charged one of their colleagues with the offences of rape and indecent assault.

The offences are alleged to have committed between Dec. 17, 2018 and Jan. 4 last year. He has since been suspended from active duty.

In Grenada, the maximum penalty for sexual assault is 14 years in jail while rape carries a maximum of 30 years imprisonment.

Jamaica

Jamaica said the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has reversed the “hard-earned gains of sustainable development” and appealed to the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) to mount a campaign to assist developing countries gain access to emergency liquidity support.

Addressing the one-day virtual extraordinary Inter-Sessional Summit of the OCAP on transcending the coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said that Jamaica and other Caribbean Forum (Cariforum) states have experienced devastating impact in multiple areas, including health, education, culture, trade and finance.

He said the mainstay of most Caribbean economies, namely agriculture and tourism, “were hardest hit by a staggering fallout in revenue and employment” and that “these experiences are certainly echoed across the OACP states.”

“This global crisis is a resounding call to action, but nothing less than a comprehensive revision of the system of global economic governance that will promote sustainable development even in the face of a pandemic,” Holness said.

He said regional corporation can help in the societies adjusting to the “new normal that we must now embrace.”

Trinidad

Trinidad and Tobago is to receive TT$33 million to assist in its fight against gender-based violence (GBV).

The funding is being possible through the Spotlight initiative, a joint initiative of the European Union (EU) and United Nations.

A total of 50 million euros is being made available to Caribbean nations to battle GBV.

The announcement was made by United Nations resident coordinator Marina Walter during a virtual launch of the Spotlight Initiative in Trinidad.

She said the funding is much needed, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic where there has been a spike in domestic violence cases.

Walter noted because of the stay-at-home measures implemented to curb the spread of COVID-19 worldwide, many victims are now confined to their homes with their abusers, resulting in increased GVB cases.

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) representative Aurora Noguera-Ramkisoon pointed to police statistics which showed a significant rise in reported domestic violence cases this year.

— Compiled by Azad Ali

More from Around NYC

>