Caribbean RoundUp Nov 6, 2020

Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis talks to the media during a news conference in Nassau, Bahamas, Sept. 3, 2019.
REUTERS / Marco Bello, File

Antigua

Cash-strapped regional airline LIAT, which is hoping to return to the skies this month, has informed retrenched workers that payment of any indebtedness would not be made at this time even as it sent letters of dismissals to several staff members, including pilots, flight attendants and engineers.

The court-appointed administrator, Cleveland Seaforth, in a letter to a shipping clerk with the airline said that his position has been made redundant effective Nov. 20, 2020.

Seaforth reminded workers that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has caused a major downturn in the economy and has had a detrimental impact on the airline, which is now in the process of being recapitalized and owing in excess of EC$100 million (US$37 million) to its creditors.

He said while the list recognizes its financial obligations to the retrenched workers, all applicable entitlements will be discussed with the relevant bargaining trade unions for resolution and finalization prior to the workers being notified of the amount due to them.

Barbados

Two more visitors were tested positive recently, raising the total to 237 cases in Barbados.

Recently a 21-year-old Jamaican woman, who arrived in Barbados on Caribbean Airlines, was positive after a second test.

This was among 515 conducted by the Best-dos-Santos Public Health Laboratory when there were 234 confirmed cases and 217 recoveries. Nine people were in isolation and the laboratory had completed 310 tests.

There were seven deaths since the virus was first detected in Barbados.

Bahamas

The Bahamas government has announced a slight relaxation on COVID-19 regulations, but warned that Bahamians must get used to cycles that involve tightening and loosening of restrictions because the pandemic will be “with us well into next year.”

Prime Minister Hubert Minnis made the announcement last week while speaking during a news conference before the territory welcomes visitors and returning residents without requiring that they quarantine for 14 days.

However, the prime minister, who said all beaches and parks in New Providence and Abaco will open this week, could not provide a time-frame for the country’s state of emergency — currently extended until the end of this month — will come to an end.

Concerning weddings and funerals on Grand Bahama, he said they will be limited to 10 people, not including officiants and mortuary workers.

Minnis, who is a medical doctor, also warned that the pandemic is far from over.

Guyana

Three private criminal charges filed against Guyana’s chief elections officer Keith Lowenfield have been withdrawn by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Attorney Nigel Hughes said that the charges had been filed against Lownfield by Daniel Kanhai , the candidate of The New Movement (TNM) and Desmond Morian, of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic, as a result of the disputed March 2 regional and general elections.

Kanhai had complained that between March 5 and June 23 this year, Lowenfield conspired with a person or persons unknown to commit the common law offence of fraud by representing to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) that tables attached to his June 25 report accurately reflected the true results of the elections in order to materially alter the results, with intent to defraud as he knew the tabulation to be false.

Morian had laid a similar complaint which was also withdrawn. Hughes said it is clear that the attorneys representing those who had filed the private charges were not prepared to move forward with the case, despite their public statements.

Jamaica

The Jamaican government has extended the island-wide curfew until Nov. 16 which was implemented as one of the measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID19).

The announcement was made by Prime Minister, Andrew Holness as he addressed the digital news conference.

According to Holness, the curfew hours will remain from 9 am to 5 pm.

He said after the spike in August and September the growth in new cases has been slowing down and recoveries increasing, which has resulted in a number of active cases showing moderate and modest decline.

Up to Nov. 2, Jamaica recorded 9,135 cases with 208 deaths.

And Minister of Health,Dr. Christopher Tufton also announced two nursing homes have been ordered closed by the Ministry of Health for not adhering to COVID-19 prevention measures.

Recently, Dr. Tufton warned of strong action against group care facilities, which continue to flout measures.

St. Lucia

St. Lucia has recorded nine new cases of coronavirus (COVID-19), including a 12-year-old child recently.

The Ministry of Health said the new cases push the total to 84 with 36 being active.

It said five cases are female and four males with ages ranging from 12 to 55 years old. They are from the northern town of Gros Islet, the capital of Castries and the southern city of Vieux Fort.

All the cases were placed in quarantine after testing while awaiting results, the ministry said.

The Ministry of Health said it was also taking this opportunity to encourage “all to look out for one another,” adding “let’s encourage each other to act responsibly to reduce our exposure to the virus.”

Trinidad

The Trinidad and Tobago government has approved US1million (TT$7 million) to assist citizens who are stranded abroad.

This was revealed by Minister of National Security, Stuart Young who said the US$1 million will be used by foreign missions to assist as the repatriation process continues.

He said Cabinet approved the extension of the administration of the relief to overseas nationals until the end of December 2020, so there are still funds available to which will be utilizing , now that Cabinet has done the approval, it will be utilized to render assistance.

Young noted that these funds are separate to the $100,000 allocated to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to assist persons in emergency situations abroad.

Minister of Finance, Colm Imbert said there is a line item called humanitarian assistance to nationals living abroad, which is TT$7 million.

He said the money is already abroad in the bank accounts of five overseas missions at major capitals.

— Compiled by Azad Ali

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