Caribbean RoundUp

Guyana's President Irfaan Ali, seen here as presidential candidate for Guyana's opposition People's Progressive Party, meets with supporters, ahead of the March 2 presidential election, in Georgetown, Guyana, Jan. 18, 2020.
REUTERS / Luc Cohen, File

Antigua
CARICOM leaders recently met to discuss arrangements that would allow their nationals to enter Caribbean countries without taking the various tests for the COVID-19 pandemic.

In recent times, the regional countries which have reopened their borders, have created so-called “travel bubbles” allowing for nationals from several countries to freely move in and out without having to undergo many of the tests required for entry and exit from the islands as a result of the COVID-19.

Barbados, for example, had created a bubble indicating that if you are coming from a number of islands you don’t need a covid-19 test.

The Ministry of Health in Antigua and Barbuda said once you are coming into the country, irrespective of where you are coming from you must have a COVID-19 negative PCR test.

The leaders are looking to see if they could find a way to harmonize the whole aspect of entry and exit among the CARICOM countries.

Dominica

The Dominica government said it had written to the French authorities in a bid to improve upon border controls between the island and the neighboring French islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe, after several people have been found illegally entering and exiting the island.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit told a news conference that curtailing the illegal migration was necessary given the COVID-19 pandemic and regardless of whether or not Dominica nationals are involved in the practice, his administration has opted a zero tolerance approach to the matter.

He said people coming in, particularly from Martinique and Guadeloupe, both Dominican and non-Dominican citizens who come into the country on small boats…into illegal ports of entry.

Minister of National Security, Rayburn Blackmore told reporters that all non-nationals found trying to enter or exit the island would be deported.

Commissioner of Police, Daniel Carbon said several illegal migrants were recently arrested.

He said 37 Haitian nationals were detained in Jimet, along the island’s west coast with 31 of them being charged for overstaying.

Over the past month, police have arrested 22 people for illegal entry and five vessels were intercepted, Carbon told reporters.

Guyana

The new Guyana government says it will establish a petroleum commission to ensure that the oil and gas sector is not subjected to undue political interference.

President Dr. Irfaan Ali said at his recent inauguration ceremony that every cent of the revenues from the sector is accounted for, as well as every cent of it that is spent.

Ali told the ceremony that there must be no doubt in the minds of the population that all of them well as the country are the beneficiaries of the oil and gas industry.

Guyana has joined the league of petroleum producing nations with the official start of oil production at the Liz Phase 1 Development, announced on Dec. 20 last year.

Jamaica

The Jamaica government recently announced a series of new measures, including new curfew hours in the capital, as efforts continue to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) that has affected more than 1,250 people and killed 15 people so far.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness told a news conference that while there are concerns over the latest figures released by the Ministry of Health, there was no need for panic as the authorities continue with their efforts to manage the virus that he said would be around for some time.

The Ministry of Health said there were now 1,290 persons affected with the virus and 98 new cases had been recorded over the past 24 hours (Aug. 21). There are 416 active cases.

Holness said the new measures would also affect the campaign for the Sept. 3 general election and that discussions had taken place with the main opposition People’s National Party (PNP) in that regard.

The prime minister said the curfew was necessary to restrict the movement of persons, since the virus cannot move on its own and among the measures would be restrictions regarding churches being prohibited from holding funerals.

St. Kitts

The St. Kitts and Nevis government said it is hoping to reopen the borders of the twin-island Federation by October, after a careful consideration of the health and safety needs of citizens and residents, as well as its commitment to restoring the local economy to pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) levels.

The government said an expansive training program is being spearheaded by the Ministry of Tourism in collaboration with the ministries of Health and Civil Aviation. It aims to train 5,000 persons in the industry at no cost to participants.

Prime Minister, Dr. Timothy Harris told a news conference, “Given the need to ensure all will benefit and can be certified by the Tourism Authority, training is being offered.”

He told reporters that his administration was taking decisions based on extensive dialogue with relevant stakeholders, including the National Emergency Operations Center, health experts and the business community represented by the Chamber of Industry and Commerce.

The prime minister said upon the successful completion of the COVID-19 sensitization sessions, participants will be presented with the St. Kitts and Nevis Travel Approved Seal that will identify entities and operators within the tourism industry who have undergone the required training to meet the minimum health and safety COVID-19 protocols.

Trinidad

The Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) has signed two loans with the Trinidad and Tobago government for a combined total of US$150 million to improve housing conditions, invest in urban transformation and respond to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Trinidad and Tobago has recorded more than 1,000 COVID positive cases and 15 deaths so far.

The Washington-based financial institution said a US$50 million investment loan for households and will support the enhancement of living conditions for low-income households and invest in urban spaces as part of a strategy to foster more sustainable development.

The IDB said the program will be executed by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development’s Program Monitoring, Coordinating and Evaluation Unit.

The second loan, valued at US$100 million, is titled “Program to Strengthen Fiscal Policy and Management in Response to the Health and Economic Crisis Caused by COVID-19 in Trinidad and Tobago.”

— Compiled by Azad Ali

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