Caribbean RoundUp

Dr. Peter Phillips is seen here being greeted by supporters during a campaign event on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2006 in Kingston, Jamaica. PNP Opposition leader, Phillips is preparing for general elections on Sept. 3, 2020.
Associated Press / Collin Reid

Antigua

Prime Minister, Gaston Browne said while the situation with the cash-strapped regional airline, LIAT, remains “tenuous” it could resume flights to some destinations even as the administrator continues his work as part of the reorganization of the airline.

Browne, who has been against any plans to liquidate LIAT (1974) Ltd., said interests are being shown in the airline by investors, some as far away as Africa.

He said there is one entity that has offered US$25 million investment for 51 percent of the shares and there is another airline, a regional airline that offered to invest about US$25 million for about 60 percent of the shares in LIAT and there are at least three governments who have shown some interest in investing in LIAT.

“So there are some prospects that the administrator is pursuing and we believe that ultimately on the basis that the administrator is successful in getting the cooperation of creditors LIAT will be reorganized and be back in the air and take its pole position,” Browne said.

Bahamas

Bahamas Prime Minister, Dr. Hubert Minnis, Deputy Prime Minister, Turnquest and Minister of Education, Jeff Lloyd have entered voluntary self-quarantine after their offices were exposed to COVID-19.

In a statement, the Cabinet Office announced the Cecil Wallace-Whitefield Center, which houses the Office of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Finance and their agencies, has been closed for cleaning and sanitization following the exposure to the virus.

The statement said the Ministry of Health’s Surveillance Unit has initiated contact tracing in an effort to determine the level of exposure to employees and visitors to the Cecil Wallace-Whitefield Center.

It also said other employees of the centrr have been encouraged to self-quarantine until further instructions are issued by the Ministry of Health.

Meanwhile, The Bahamas has recorded more than 1,000 cases of the virus as of last week. Government offices continue to shut down due to the exposure.

Jamaica

The main opposition People’s National Party (PNP) has vowed if elected a referendum will be held on whether or not to remove Queen Elizabeth II as the county’s head of state.

Jamaica will go to the polls on Sept. 3, 2020.

This is according to party president and opposition leader, Dr. Peter Phillips, who was speaking during a recent meeting at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona campus.

In the past, both the PNP and the ruling Jamaica Labor Party (JLP) spoke of having a referendum to replace the Queen, which was also suggested by former Prime Minister, Portia Simpson-Miller in 2002.

Meanwhile, the opposition party, also outlined other issues to be addressed if the party is victorious in the next general election.

According to Phillips, some issues on the list of priorities include change to the education sector and providing access free or affordable health care through a universal health insurance scheme.

Guyana

Law enforcement authorities in Guyana say they are working with their counterparts in Germany after the largest single cocaine haul in that European country in recent years had recently been seized.

German officials said that 1.5 tons of cocaine were found stashed in a container with a shipment of rice from Guyana and the container arrived on board the container vessel CMA CGM Jean Gabriel. It had a street value of euro 300 million.

Guyana’s Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) is aware of the bust and is working along with the Guyana Revenue Authority’s Customs Department to get details on the rice shipment that was loaded on the container.

Investigators believe that the cocaine was destined for Poland where it would have been sold in bulk.

German investigators said this was among the largest quantities of cocaine ever seized in Hamburg.

Haiti

The Central Intervention Fund for Humanitarian Emergencies (CERF), a United Nations organization, has donated US$4 million to support and strengthen the response in the fight against Covid-19 in vulnerable communities in the French-speaking Caribbean Community (Caricom).

The allocation will support the two national NGOs, the Development of Health Centers and the Association for the Promotion of the Haitian Family and three international NGOs, Humanity and Inclusion and Habitat pour l’Humanite’. Grants will range from $400,000 to $1,200,000.

The projects selected in collaboration with the Haitian authorities on the basis of a careful needs assessment, will benefit more than 265,000 people in the department of North, North-West, South East and Grand’ Anse.”

This fund will specifically target responses in the areas of health, water, sanitation and hygiene, in accordance with the humanitarian response relating to COVID-19.

Habitat for Humanity will use the grant to renovate and equip isolation centers and clinics to better protect patients, healthcare workers and communities from the spread of the virus.

St. Vincent & the Grenadines

The ruling St. Vincent and the Grenadines government has announced plans to pay farmers near the resort in Buccament Bay, to the north of the island, EC$12 per square foot for lands it acquired to be sold to Sandals Resort International.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves made the announcement on his weekly program on the state-owned NBC Radio.

The Catholic Church had initially earmarked the land for the construction of a school, but has since decided against it.

Gonsalves said his government has also “agreed to about six acres from Bernard’s Punnett” – a major landowner in the area.

He also revealed that four farmers located near the resort had refused to sell their lands to Harlequin- the company that originally owned the resort- about 14 years ago, when construction of the resort was announced.

However, Gonsalves said the government had reached agreements with three of the farmers.

The prime minister said he had plans for the remaining four of the six acres his government is purchasing from the Catholic Church.

He said the government was expected to take to Parliament a supplementary appropriate bill in relation to the acquisition of those lands.

Gonsalves said there was a down payment of some US$1.75 million, representing 10 percent of the agreed price for the resort.

Trinidad

The rapid rise in COVID-19 cases in Trinidad and Tobago has forced Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Rowley to re-introduce certain lockdown measures in order to contain the community spread of the deadly virus.

As of last Monday (Aug. 17) T&T recorded 11 deaths and 560 positive cases.

Among the measures announced by Dr Rowley are making face masks mandatory and the prohibition of in-house consumption of food and alcohol at restaurants and bars, food courts, malls and their precincts.

He said purchase of food and drinks are to be taken away, and gatherings must not be more than five persons.

Dr. Rowley told a press conference at the Diplomat Center, Port of Spain the new measures will take place from Aug. 17 and will remain in effect for 28 days.

All places of worship, beaches, gyms, all contact sports, casinos and members clubs, cinemas will be closed, weddings, and funerals, will be limited to 10 persons.

Maxi-taxis and taxis will operate at 50 percent capacity. The school term has been deferred until Dec. 31, only essential travel to Tobago, which has so far recorded 13 cases of the COVID-19 virus.

The prime minister said if the COVID-19 numbers get worse, even after all these measures, the next step would be to go into a total shutdown.

Pointing to the high costs of the last shutdown, Dr. Rowley said the government did not want the country to be in this position.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Roshan Parasram said Trinidad has moved from cluster to community spread.

— Compiled by Azad Ali

More from Around NYC

>