The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) says its expert missions are supporting Eastern Caribbean countries in preparing for a potential case of the Ebola virus.
To date missions from PAHO have visited seven countries of the Eastern Caribbean to support their efforts.
In coordination with national health authorities and with support from the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), PAHO said three expert missions have already visited Barbados, Dominica, Antigua & Barbuda and Grenada. Others were expected to conclude in St. Vincent and the Grenadines,
“The missions are supporting efforts in Eastern Caribbean countries to ensure they are able to detect, treat and contain the spread of any potential case of Ebola,” PAHO said in a statement.
Since the start of the West Africa’s current Ebola epidemic, PAHO said more than 15,000 cases and over 5,000 deaths have been reported.
Nearly 200 employees of Caribbean airline, LIAT, could get the axe if proposed job cuts aimed at improving the airline’s financial stability are realized.
Antigua Observer newspaper reported that the regional carrier is looking to retrench about 185 of its staff who are stationed in every country it operates.
The newspaper said it was reliably informed the company has presented several options to reduce the number of persons it employs. These measures include early retirement, voluntary severance, normal retirement, temporary layoffs and termination.
Based on the proposals, the commercial, customer experience and cargo divisions would be the departments mostly affected with a 21 percent reduction in personnel. The proposed cuts will trim the number of employees in those departments from 283 to 225 individuals.
LIAT is also considering sending home 51 workers in flight operations, reducing the department by about 20 percent as well.
The engineering department is also expected to lose 50 workers, while 26 individuals are expected to be redundant in finance, human resource and administration.
Crime and security were high on the agenda as several attorney generals from the Caribbean met with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to discuss a wide range of issues at the U.S. Embassy in Barbados.
Some of the issues discussed included the strengthening of the international legal framework and deepening the partnership and collaboration between the U.S. and the Caribbean on crime and security matters.
Discussions also focussed on border security, regional security, transnational organized crime, human trafficking, international justice cooperation and mutual legal assistance.
Several attorneys general, including Anand Ramlogan from Trinidad and Tobago, Patrick Atkinson (Jamaica), Adrienne Braithwaite (Barbados) and Jason Hamilton (St. Kitts-Nevis) attended the meeting.
Heavy rains flooded thousands of homes in Guyana and forced the closure of schools and businesses in the capital, Georgetown, officials said.
More than seven inches of rain fell on the capital in less than 24 hours. Many streets were impassable in Georgetown and there were widespread reports of flooding in the lower floors of buildings throughout the city.
Guyana is particularly prone to dangerous flooding. The coastal plains of the South American country are protected by a system of canals, drains and the sea wall.
A highly regarded Cannabidol (EBD) specialist, Dr. William Courtney, has joined the Jamaica-based Timeless Herbal Care (THC), to assist in research and development.
According to THC, he will be part of a team of international and local researchers at the Timeless Medical Research Center at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona Campus, Jamaica.
Courtney is recognized as an international leader in medicinal marijuana treatment and is also a member of the American Academy of Cannabinoid Medicine.
THC is a Jamaican company that is focused on developing medical products from Jamaica herbs and in September, established a partnership with the UWI to establish the Herbal Medicine Research Center.
With Dr. Courtney joining THC, the company is expressing optimism that he will help to attract thousands of patients to Jamaica to receive herbal treatments.
The St. Kitts-Nevis government has sought to downplay the decision by Canada to impose visa restrictions on nationals from the twin-island Federation wanting to visit the North American country, noting that since the September 2011 terrorist attacks on the United States on the United States countries have been reviewing their immigration policies periodically.
“Countries review and change their policies routinely in order to protect their interests and their people and so do we,” Foreign Minister Patrice Nesbit said in a broadcast.
“Canada is an important ally, an ally of long standing. Our government values the strong relations, which over the years that Canada and St. Kitts-Nevis have built.
Canada has strong security concerns, the government recognizes this and the government of St. Kitts-Nevis will do all in its power to respect and accommodate the concerns of an important ally,” Nisbet said.
But Opposition Leader Mark Brantley said that Canada’s position may have been influenced by an Iranian national holding a diplomatic passport issued by the St. Kitts-Nevis government.
Brantley reminded nationals that the Iranian national told Canadian border agents that he was entering Canada for meetings with the Canadian Prime Minister on behalf of the government and people of St. Kitts, “the claims by the Iranian national of a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister were categorically false.”
St. Lucia has slapped a temporary ban on the importation of all poultry products from the United Kingdom, as a result of an outbreak of bird flu there.
The Ministry of Agriculture said the ban was imposed in light of information received from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in the United Kingdom confirming that the country recently experienced an outbreak of a Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI).
The Ministry said in a statement that the importation ban is imposed with immediate effect and applies to all poultry, poultry meat products and processed internal organs of poultry raised, slaughtered or processed in the United Kingdom from 21 days prior to the start of outbreak on Nov. 14, 2014.
“These importation restrictions are part of quarantine measures aimed at preventing the entry of the Avian Influenza Virus into St. Lucia and will remain in effect until further notice,” the statement said.
A flight attendant with regional airline LIAT was fined EC$10,000 or serve nine months in prison after she pleaded guilty to money laundering charges.
Sherita Kernelle Newton, 30, was charged with bringing criminal property into St. Vincent and the Grenadines and also being in possession of criminal property, contrary to the country’s laws.
The Dominican national pleaded guilty to the charges when she appeared before Chief Magistrate Rechanne Brown-Matthias.
The court heard that, on Nov. 21, 2014 law enforcement agents conducted a search of Newton’s apartment at Beachcomers Hotel and questioned her in relation to monies she had in her possession and suspected to be derived from criminal activities.
Newton told the police she had EC$12,000, but when police counted the money it amounted to EC$27,000. She also had 25 Euro in her possession.
She explained that someone in Antigua had given her the money to take to an individual in St. Vincent and she was paid a fee of EC$1,000 to transport the money.
Trinidad and Tobago has been ranked 12th in a United Nations (UN) study among countries worldwide where the most homicides occur.
The global average homicide rate stands at 6.2 per 100,000 population and T&T’s rate in 2012 was more than five times that figure.
T&T has a population of 1.3 million.
Caribbean neighbors Jamaica and St. Kitts-Nevis placed sixth and eight respectively.
The study gives a comprehensive overview of international homicide across the world.
Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams said he was not surprised by T&T’s ranking. He said Latin America and the Caribbean globally are the two regions most outstanding by way of homicides.
He said what it means is that Trinidad and Tobago is a very violent society.
Compiled by Azad Ali
— compiled by Azad Ali