Caribbean RoundUp

Barbados

The Barbados Chamber of Industry and Commerce (BCIC) said it had urged the Frendeul Stuart government to consider entering into a standby agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as the island grapples to turn around the ailing economy.

BCIC President Tracey Shuffle addressing a business breakfast meeting in Bridgetown that the private sector had suggested that once a reasonable portion of the present fiscal deficit had been reduced, “the government of Barbados could then consider the feasibility of engaging the IMF to enter into a standby arrangement.”

The private sector leader said that there is a belief in the country that when the IMF is formally engaged by a government, that government has completely “failed” to adequately manage its financial affairs.

“In fact, many countries wait until they are in absolutely dire financial straits to engage the IMF as the Fund is often seen as a rescue of last resort, a time when financial power is handed over to outside interests,” she said.

Dominica

Dominica has told the international community that it does not discriminate against persons who engage in same sex relationships, but insists that the laws of the country must be obeyed.

Vince Henderson, Dominica’s permanent Representative to the United Nations said that Dominica takes exception with some of the accusations and allegations made by some organizations that clearly are not in tune with what is happening on the nature isle.

He said the island, neither through the legal process or non-state actors “is not involved in the persecution of gays and lesbians and the representatives of the organization would be better served if they would take the time to visit the island and understand what is happening in Dominica.

Henderson said with a population of 70,000 people, “It doesn’t take the stretch of the imagination to know if there are people who are gay and lesbian that the majority of the population would know who they are.

“They are not hunted down, they are not persecuted, nor are they being prosecuted contrary to the statement made by Amnesty International,” Henderson said.

Guyana

Speaker of the Guyana’s National Assembly Raphael Trotman has been granted an ex-parte injunction preventing a 22-year-old man from publishing any material relating to allegations that he was molested by the Speaker about a decade ago.

Trotman who has already dismissed the allegations as a move “obviously intended to provide a timely distraction from the serious prevailing political situation in Guyana” got the injunction recently.

The injunction also orders the 22-year-old man to remove all allegations of sexual abuse by the Speaker from his Facebook page.

The minority Alliance for Change (ADC) said in a statement that Chief Justice Ian Chang granted the injunction barring Johnny Anthony Welshman from publishing whether in the print or electronic media any material relating to allegations he has made against Trotman.

Trotman is also seeking damages in excess of Guy$50 million for libel contained in statements allegedly made by Welshman and published in the Stabroek News, Guyana Times and on Welshman’s Facebook page.

The AFC said it would continue to provide “unequivocal support” for Trotman, the party’s co-founder against the recent “spurious and unfounded allegations against him.”

The Speaker has already sought to link the accusations to the vote of no confidence filed against the Donald Ramotar administration.

Jamaica

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn on Wednesday withdrew the corruption charge against jailed Jamaican dancehall entertainer Vybz Kartel and two other people.

Kartel, whose real name is Adidja Palmer and entertainer Gaza Slim (Vanessa Saddler) had been charged with attempting and conspiracy to pervert the court of justice in 2011. Another person, Andre Henry was also facing the same charges.

The charges were also brought after Saddler filed a police report claiming that she was robbed at gunpoint by a man she identified as Clive “Lizard” Williams.

Kartel was earlier this year sentenced to life imprisonment for killing Williams. He is appealing the conviction.

The police allege that the report by Saddler was an attempt to assist Kartel’s case.

St. Kitts

The St. Kitts-Nevis government announced an “immediate” increase in security arrangements at the main JFN Hospital following the fatal shooting of a 19-year-old youth recently.

Police said: “With immediate effect, we have increased the presence of the security forces at the hospital on a 24-hour basis, security cameras will be installed and the visiting policy would be strictly adhered to.”

Other security measures would be put in place in the short and medium term, Health Minister Marcella Liburd said in a radio and television broadcast.

St. Lucia

The St. Lucia government says the war on illegal drugs is being significantly hampered by the decision of the United States to continue sanctions against the St. Lucia Police Force.

Washington announced last year that it was preventing the local police force from taking part in the America-funded training exercises and assistance under its anti-drug program.

The decision was taken by Washington in light of what it called credible allegations of gross human rights violations by local law men.

The allegations are linked to several fatal police shootings between 2010 and 2011 under the former United Workers Party (UWP) government.

Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony one year ago announced the U.S. prohibition assistance to local law enforcement officers under the terms of the Leah Law.

St. Vincent

The European Union (EU) has agreed to allocate approximately EC$45. 5 million in grants for St. Vincent and the Grenadines and St. Lucia after both countries were affected by a devastating weather system in December 2013.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines, which suffered the heaviest damage, is earmarked to receive EC$23.5 million and St. Lucia EC$22.4 million.

This long-term reconstruction support will be in addition to the EC$1.4 million of emergency humanitarian assistance provided by the European Union to the affected populations in the two countries immediately after the storm.

Trinidad

Trinidad and Tobago-owned Caribbean Airlines Limited (CAL) is predicting a loss next year, accounting for an increase in its allocation of $718 million, according to Finance Minister Larry Howai.

Howai was confident that over a space of three years, CAL could become sustainable.

He said a large chunk of losses related to the fuel subsidy, the Tobago route subsidy, losses from the aborted CAL/Jamaica merger.

Howai said the fuel subsidy alone was US$50 million; the Tobago subsidy US$26 million. There was also a loss on the Venezuelan route due to the immobilization of the Bolivar currency to the tune of US$45 million. He said CAL’s management had estimated the airline’s losses in 2015 at about $200 million.

Dominica

The Dominica government has introduced a new travel tax on visitors to raise funds for the port’s upkeep.

The EC$27 entry tax and an EC$5 security fee took effect on July 14, but was only revealed in Parliament a month later on Sept. 18.

Opposition United Workers Party (UWP) legislator, Norris Prevost, said the government’s approach should be viewed as a “clandestine way of evading Parliament, media and industry scrutiny of a very far reaching tax measure.”

Prevost said it contradicts Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit’s claim of “no new taxes” in his 2014/2015 budget.

Ports Minister Rayburn Blackmoore said the new tax would assist in the maintenance of the ports on the island.

— Compiled by Azad Ali

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