Caribbean RoundUp

Antigua

A new, larger terminal at the V.C Bird International Airport, the home base for regional airline LIAT, will open shortly in Antigua.

On July 2, 2015, LIAT together with other carriers and their staff participated in a full-scale exercise at the new terminal building, to test the various systems and to highlight any issues ahead of the official opening of the new terminal.

Dozens of people, including LIAT employees participated in the simulation exercise. They first checked in, went through immigration and security on the upper level of the terminal and prepared for departure through the allocated gates. They then proceeded through immigration. Before collecting their luggage and going through Customs and exiting the terminal.

The airport terminal, built by the China Civil Engineering Construction Cooperation, has 24 departure gates, modern security screening facilities, as well as a VIP lounge.

Officials say when the terminal is opened it would be the most advanced in the region.

Barbados

New Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Barbados Prime Minister Frenduel Stuart, has described the just concluded 36th CARICOM heads of government meeting, held in Barbados recently, a success.

Speaking during the closing press conference, Stuart said he and his colleagues focused on three major areas: energy; bolstering education system to build the social and economic resilience of countries; border issues – particularly the existing dispute between Venezuela and Guyana- and the looming humanitarian crisis in Haiti “created by the actions of the Dominican Republic”.

On the issue of energy, Stuart said leaders welcomed the establishment of a Caribbean Center for Renewable Energy, which will be the implementation hub for sustainable energy activities and projects within the Caribbean. He added that Barbados will be the host country for this center.

The CARICCOM chairman further disclosed that the government of Trinidad and Tobago had proposed the creation of a Caribbean Energy Fund, which received the support of the other heads. During their discourse, the leaders also addressed the ongoing border dispute between Venezuela and Guyana. Stuart cautioned, however, that it was not one that could be resolved with the “snap of a finger”, as it was a very old dispute.

Bahamas

Bankrupt Bahamas megaresort Baha Mar recently filed a lawsuit in England against its contractor, China State Construction Engineering Corporation, seeking more than$192 million in damages to compensate for delays and reported substandard work.

The legal action was taken a day after Baha Mar filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States.

Baha Mar is listed as the claimant and China State Construction Engineering Corporation, the parent company of China Construction America Bahamas (CCA), is listed as the defendant.

The lawsuit says CCA Bahamas “has acted in breach of its obligations” under its contract with Baha Mar and as a consequence Baha Mar suffered loss and damage.

The court documents say CCA guaranteed the “due and punctual performance” of all its obligations.

Baha Mar is seeking “damages for delay, currently estimated at US$50 million and damages as a result of failures to perform or provide professional construction management services, currently estimated to be at least US$55 million”.

Additionally, it wants damages reflecting the cost of remediation work flowing from the breaches of contract, currently estimated to be approximately US$30 million and damages, which resulted in the late completion of the Conventions Center, estimated around US$4 million.

Baha Mar is also seeking interest.

Baha Mar also filed court documents in the Supreme Court of The Bahamas recently. Baha Mar employs more than 2,000 Bahamians.

Cayman Islands

Former FIFA Vice-President Jeffrey Webb was recently charged in connection with an ongoing Cayman Islands criminal investigation involving the award of a public hospital contract to a local company prosecutors allege was controlled by Webb’s close associate Canover Watson.

According to a press release by the Cayman Islands Anti-Corruption Commission, both Watson and Webb have been jointly charged with two counts of conspiracy to defraud, contrary to common law, and with and additional count of breach of trust by public official, contrary to the Cayman Islands Anti-Corruption Law.

In addition, Webb, Watson and Watson’s former personal assistant at Admiral Administration, Miram Rodriguez, were jointly charged with one count of conspiracy to convert criminal property, contrary to the Cayman Islands Penal Code.

A warrant for Webb was issued from the Cayman Islands. He is currently held in detention in Switzerland following his arrest on May 27 in connection with racketeering and money laundering charges in the USA.

Local police said they would begin extradition proceedings for Webb in Switzerland.

Guyana

The Guyana government has warned criminal elements that it was prepared to come after them as it moved to stem an increase in criminal activities in the country.

President David Granger chaired a recent high-level security meeting “to craft a crime-fighting strategy in light of an increase in violent crime” and, according to a statement issued afterwards, the “clear message coming out of this initial meeting is that the administration intends to move swiftly and vigorously to arrest violent crime in Guyana”.

The statement said among those who attended the meeting were, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, Minister of State Joseph Harmon, Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan and Commissioner of Police Seelall Persaud.

The government recently announced that it was implementing measures that would allow for business places to close down at 2 am (local time).

The measure covers many of the larger and more prominent night spots in the city and Ramjattan said while a number of bars and liquor restaurants have lobbied him against the measure, has indicated “to them they are not going to get any assistance from me in that regard.’

Haiti

South Africa’s Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Luwellyn Landers recently paid a visit to Haiti after concluding a successful visit to Suriname.

While in Suriname, Landers held bilateral talks with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Winston Lakin. During the visit to Suriname, the two countries also signed a memorandum of understanding on political consultations.

The MoU will serve as a framework for the two countries to manage their bilateral relations and will further help to strengthen diplomatic relations.’

The deputy minister also paid a courtesy call on the Governor of the Central Bank in Suriname, Gilmore Hoefdraad. The two exchanged views on various pertinent issues and also echoed the need for South Africa and Suriname to find common areas of cooperation”.

Suriname and South African had enjoyed cordial reciprocal diplomatic relations since 1995. During his visit to Haiti, Landers held bilateral talks and discussions with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lener Renauld. The deputy minister also paid a courtesy call on President Michel Martelly.

Haiti is the fourth country the deputy minister visited during his five-nation tour to the Caribbean.

Montserrat

Montserrat is continuing to take steps towards the full implementation of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.

Premier Donaldson Romeo gave the assurance that Montserrat, a British overseas territory, was continuing its engagements to ensure the timely completion of the processes to this end.

He made the announcement at the recent opening of the ceremony of the 36th meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in Bridgetown, Barbados.

“Regarding the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, we continue our exchanges with her Majesty’s government and are preparing the requited Legislation to submit to the Legislative Assembly of Montserrat. The CARICOM Authority has granted time lines for completion of the processes and for the full implementation of the Revised Treaty.

“We are very clear that our accession to the Caribbean Development Fund (CDF), which will assist our efforts to integrate, and the Original Court of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), which safeguards the rules of trade, are necessary pillars that will move Montserrat forward,” Romeo said.

He added that CARICOM Secretary General, Irwin LaRocque, who visited Montserrat earlier this year, had assured him that all courtesies and assistance would be granted as needed “to help Montserrat advance as a found member of CARICOM, with the current new and revised arrangements or our regional integration movement”.

St. Lucia

Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony says St. Lucia is not prepared to invest in cash-strapped regional airline LIAT and called on its shareholder governments to “bite the bullet” and put in place policies that would ensure the financial viability of the Antigua-based carrier.

“This is not a question of governments making sacrifices, it is also a question of LIAT, its employees and its pilots also making sacrifices for the future of LIAT,” Anthony said.

LIAT is owned by the shareholder governments of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The four regional governments have been appealing to other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) governments to invest in the airline that services 17 Caribbean destinations.

He said what is needed right now is to transform the airline to ensure that it is far more efficient, “that it is operated strictly on appropriate financial formula that ensures losses are curtailed and efficiencies are gained.”

Trinidad

Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has offered support to Guyana in its present maritime waters dispute with Venezuela.

According to a release, Persad-Bissessar affirmed her support to Guyana’s President David Granger during the recent 36th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in Bridgetown, Barbados.

During the discussion at the CARICOM meeting, she affirmed with Granger Trinidad and Tobago’s interests with both Guyana and Venezuela.

However, the prime minister stated that Venezuela’s Presidential Decree is a violation of international laws of the sea and expressed support for Guyana.

The release stated that the Commonwealth’s position was similarly affirmed by the secretary general, who expressed disapproval of the unilateral passing such decrees and again expressed the Commonwealth’s support of Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

— compiled by Azad Ali

More from Around NYC