Caribbean RoundUp

Antigua

Antigua and Barbuda’s tourism industry could receive a major boost following a recent visit by ministry officials.

Minister of Tourism Asot Michael completed his inaugural visit to Berlin, Germany during which he attended three conferences to seek new hotel investment and forge closer relationships with German tour operators and airline partners.

The minister’s delegation included Ambassador Brian Challenger; Chairman of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority; Rohan Hector; Economic Envoy for Antigua and Barbuda in Germany, Hans Kupin; new Vice President of Sales and Marketing for UK and Europe, Jean-Marc Flambert and Director of Tourism UK & Europe, Cherrie Osborne.

The ministry said a notable achievement from the Berlin event was the commitment given by Eden Viaggi, an Italian tour operator to again have direct flights from Milan to Antigua with a year round charter with 130 seats weekly to the destination. The flight will be shared with the Dominican Republic to service their Eden Village Club and will be starting in December 2015

Bahamas

Authorities on Eluthera Island in The Bahamas arrested 28 people, believed to be Haitian migrants, after illegally landing on the island.

According to reports, police, immigration and customs officers intercepted a vessel near Palmetto Point close to midnight.

The passengers on board were unable to present documentation proving their right to be in The Bahamas.

The men and women were flown to New Providence.

A sweep of the island was conducted to ensure no one evaded capture.

Barbados

The ruling Democratic Labor Party (DLP) has dismissed plans by Opposition Leader Mia Mottley to file a no confidence motion against Speaker Michael Carrington.

The main opposition Barbados Labor Party (BLP) filed the motion against Carrington recently in the absence of a report from the Committee of Privileges that had examined the conduct of the Speaker, who is also an attorney, concerning his client John Griffiths.

In January, opposition legislators walked out of the Parliament demanding that the Speaker not preside over the legislature until a court matter in which he is involved is settled.

The Barbados Labor Party is very clear. The speaker ought to recuse himself from the chair until this matter is resolved,” said Mottley, noting that anytime the deputy speaker is in the chair, the opposition legislators would remain.

Guyana

The Guyana government said Nepalese nationals were brought into the country for trafficking purposes and warned it will “take strong and decisive action against any person(s) involved in trafficking in persons.”

The Ministry of Home Affairs said, “it is aware and is concerned about the large number of Nepalese traveling to Guyana and their purposes for traveling.”

The government said it had received intelligence reports which indicated from Oct. 14 to 17, 2014 a group of 14 Nepalese nationals, including four females were tracked down to two hotels.

“The majority of these individuals were housed in the Tourist Hotel Resort with their rooms padlocked from the outside. Further, the tour operator revealed as to why the doors were locked from the outside in such a way,” the statement said.

The Nepalese claimed to be tourists but did not engage in tourist-related activities, ministry said.

Jamaica

A senior official of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) says Jamaica is poised to achieve increase economic growth of up to three percent over the medium term.

The IMF representative in Jamaica, Dr. Bert van Selm, said he was basing his optimism on the government’s timely implementation of the Economic Reform Program (ERP), being supported by the IMF’s Extended Fund Facility (EFF).

“The bottom line is that Jamaica is very well poised for higher economic growth in 2015, but also over the medium term,” he said.

“For the medium term, we project growth to a little higher than that, in the range of 2.5, maybe three percent,” van Selm said.

Last month, the IMF praised the Jamaica government for its “resolute implementation” of its economic program designed to strengthen the foundation for growth and employment in the country.

Jamaica has a four-year US$958 million External Fund Facility with the IMF and the island is set to receive US$40 million in financing upon its successful seventh review of the program.

St. Lucia

Former St. Lucia Prime Minister Stephenson King has denied claims of being directly involved in the execution of “Operation Restore Confidence,” or giving police instructions to use their firearms in an effort to bring a spate of crime under control.

King told reporters that “Operation Confidence” was intended to provide intelligence, surveillance and to cooperate with the public to suppress crime.

“Operation Restore Confidence “was a genuine effort based on the calls of the people, to bring order to this land. As you remember during that time people were saying we need to bring crime under control,” he explained.

King denied that he gave direct orders to the police to shoot and kill people between 2009-2011, who were said to be on a blacklist. He said he only appealed to police to maintain law and order.

“How can I or any prime minister give instruction to shoot and kill? This is absurd. No Prime Minister does that. My conscience is clear on everything; on finance, administration of governance and the issue of the police,” he asserted.

St. Vincent

A second school teacher, who is facing two “obscene writing” charges from statements she made on Facebook has been suspended from classes.

Jozette Bibby-Bownes, who appeared in court recently, was told that the Public Service Commission (PSC) had instructed that she be suspended “in view of the criminal proceedings which have been instituted against you.”

Bibby-Bownes, who teaches information technology, electronic document preparation and management accounting, pleaded not guilty to two charges of obscene publication before a magistrate in a Kingstown court recently.

The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers’ Union (SVGTU) said while it recognizes free expression and does not condone the violation of the laws of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in any form “the reported grounds for and manner in which the member was brought before the law are cause for concern.”

“‘We continue to support members’ right to continue to share their views on national issues,” the Teachers’ Union said.

Trinidad

Foreign Minister Dookeran said Trinidad and Tobago will maintain its business and economic relations with Venezuela although the South American country has been deemed “a threat to national security” by United States President Barack Obama.

He said it was government’s desire to see a diplomatic solution to the escalating diplomatic crisis between Venezuela and the U.S.

Dookeran said; “Our joint exploration of the energy resources in the sea will continue. This will not affect the need for a diplomatic solution that I spoke about.”

He said T&T wants to work with other countries in the region to find a solution to the emerging diplomatic crisis between Venezuela and the United States.

“We have indicated this desire to the Community of Latin America and Caribbean Countries (CELAC) as well as the Organization of American States (OAS),” he said.

Recently, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro visited Trinidad and Tobago and signed two energy agreements with Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar at the Diplomatic Center, Port of Spain.

The two countries have also agreed to barter commodities and goods to enhance their economies.

Venezuelan Ambassador to T&T Coromoto Godoy told a media conference at the Venezuelan Embassy in Port of Spain that the relationship between Venezuela and T&T will not be impacted by recent developments.

— compiled by Azad Ali

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