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Barbados

Minister of Health John Boyce has suggested a “proper” pardon for Barbadian cricketers who defied public opinion and took part in the rebel tours of racially divided South Africa in 1982 and 1983. He said a pardon was in line with the work of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which had preached forgiveness and reconciliation for people who had perpetuated wrongs against society during the apartheid era.

Boyce said the commission operated on the premise that all people failed in one way or another. He made the comments recently as the House of Assembly paid tribute to South African icon Nelson Mandela. Boyce said that decades after the controversial tour of a country, which was under an international sports ban because of its racial segregation policies, the former cricketers still needed to be properly pardoned, recognized and acknowledged.

He listed among the sportsmen who had taken part in the tours: Sylvester Clarke, Alvin Greenidge, Collis King, Ezra Moseley, Franklyn Stephenson, Emmerson Trotman, Albert Padmore and Hartley Alleyne. Also touring South Africa were Gregory Armstrong, who acted as coordinato­r/manager, and David Murray. The South African rebel tours were a series of seven cricket tours staged by a number of teams between 1982 and 1990.

They were organized and conducted despite the disapproval of national cricket boards and governments, as well as the International Cricket Conference and international organizations including the United Nation.

Dominica

Dominica and China have signed a new US$300 million cooperation agreement that includes the construction of a hotel, construction of an international airport and building a new hospital.

The agreement was signed between Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit and the president of ASCG, Xue Song recently.

According to ASCG, the hotel, to be situated in Roseau, will be the first to be constructed at a cost of US$70 million.

The Chinese government will provide a preferential loan to support the projects.

ASCG’s general manager Wang Yueyuan said since both countries established diplomatic relations in 2004, China has strengthened its cooperation with Dominica.

Meanwhile, a government statement said that a team of Chinese officials is now on the island inspecting the site for the construction of the five-star hotel in the capital.

The government of Dominica and the firm have signed a Memorandum of Understanding.

It quoted Skerrit as having declared during the 2013-14 national budget that the design works for the hotel had been completed and an offer of financing for the construction was being considered by the government.

“The construction of the hotel is part of government’s commitment to making the tourism product more competitive and for enhancing stay over visitor capacity on island,” the statement said.

Grenada

The Grenada government recently presented a national budget of EC$933.9 million outlining a series of taxes and stressing the need for a curtailment of government expenditure over the next 12 months. Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. Keith Mitchell presented the fiscal package to Parliament indicating that it would have recurrent revenue estimated at EC$471.1 million and recurrent expenditure of EC$487 million.

He said the budget with an overall deficit after grants totaling EC$139.4 million or 6.2 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) would be financed from domestic and external sources. Mitchell told legislators that a loan authorization bill to raise EC$140 million in financing to support implementation of the 2014 budget accompanies the fiscal presentation and that most of the external financing will be direct support for Grenada’s “Homegrown Program.”

The prime minister said that it is an established fact that Grenada now has the lowest total tax revenue in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) and throughout the consultations on the Homegrown Program.

Guyana

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has strengthened its commitment to protecting the rights of persons with disabilities in the signing of the Declaration of Petion Ville recently in Haiti.

In the Declaration, the CARICOM Member States reiterated their commitment to the implementation of the Kingston Accord on the Responsibilities of States with respect to Persons with Disabilities, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Inter-American Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities, in accordance with the Constitution and laws of respective Member States.

According to a statement from the Georgetown based CARICOM Secretariat, they have agreed “to address with renewed energy and dedication the development of legal frameworks at the national level made through adherence to international and regional instruments to promote and protect the rights and needs of persons with disabiliti­es.”

Haiti

Hundreds of protesters gathered recently to criticize a recent court decision in the Dominican Republic that could strip the citizenship of generations of people of Haitian descent living in the neighboring country.

The crowd peaked at about 2,000 people but thinned out during the march uphill to the Dominican Embassy to protest the decision passed two months ago by that country’s court. The demonstrators urged people to boycott travel to the Dominican Republic.

Riot police set up metal barricades on a major thoroughfare that block protesters from reaching the district where the diplomatic mission is located.

The ruling has been met with sharp objection, from Caribbean leaders to the United Nations. Recently, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights became the latest international entity to oppose the court decision, calling on the Dominican government to take urgent measures to guarantee the rights of those people affected.

Advocacy groups estimate 200,000 people, many of them of Haitian descent, could lose their Dominican citizenship because of the court ruling. Dominican officials say only about 24,000 would be affected.

Jamaica

Jamaica has widened its strategy to deal with money laundering with the Senate giving approval to five Orders under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).

The Orders cover non-financial businesses and professions and Justice Minister Mark Golding said the government had determined that certain sectors that were outside of the traditional financial sector, and in keeping with international requirements and trends, should be subjected to anti-money laundering measures.

“The reason for this is that criminals often need to use the services of these professionals and others to launder their illicit cash.

“As a consequence, having these professions being subjected to anti-money laundering measures is a strong deterrent to launderers, and should also assist law enforcement in tracking assets, where these professionals make the required disclosures under law,” he said.

Golding said that the purpose of the orders was to designate these professions as nonfinancial institutions under the provisions of POCA.

“The effect of this designation is that these professions will then be brought within the definition of a regulated sector and thereby be subjected to certain anti money laundering obligations under the POCA and the proceeds of crime money laundering regulations.” he said.

Opposition Senator, Alexander Williams, said there was support for the legislation as it “will tighten our compliance with the requirements laid out by the financial action task force.”

The orders will come into effect on April 1, 2014, except for the Proceeds of Crime (Designated Non-Financial Institution) (Attorneys-at-law) Order, which will take effect in June 2014.

Trinidad

Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica have agreed that changes would have to be made in the way immigration authorities in T&T and elsewhere in the Caribbean treat Caribbean visitors.

T&T Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran who traveled to Jamaica to discuss the deportation of some 13 Jamaican nationals recently made a pledge with his Jamaican colleague AJ Nicholson to free up travel to T&T for Jamaicans.

Dookeran said the tension between both countries have been “defused” following two-days of talks with Nicholson, the implications of what was proving to be a budding trade and diplomatic dispute after the Jamaicans were sent back home when they recently arrived at Piarco International Airport.

Jamaicans had threatened to boycott T&T manufactured products in protest.

One of the outcomes of the discussions was the proposal for an urgent meeting of CARICOM Heads of Immigration Departments to elaborate on ways to sensitize (border) officials on the fair treatment of CARICOM nationals exercising their rights within the Community.

St. Kitts

It has been a full year since the Opposition filed a motion of no confidence in the Denzil Douglas-led government, however, the motion remains in abeyance.

On Dec.11, Opposition Leader Hon. Mark Brantley filed the final draft of the resolution with the clerk of the National Assembly, however Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas continued to delay its tabling, claiming other matters took precedence.

Letters advocating the tabling of the motion were sent to the speaker of the House, the governor general, the OECS Parliamentary Assembly and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association by the St. Kitts and Nevis Bar Association, a coalition of civil society and private sector organizations, and members of the Opposition to no avail.

Since the Opposition petitioned the court for injunctive relief to prevent the government tabling anything else before the motion is heard, PM Douglas has contended the motion is subjudice and cannot be heard in parliament until the court makes a ruling.

The six elected MPs and Opposition senator launched a boycott of parliamentary proceedings until the no confidence motion is tabled and debated. With a 6-5 majority of elected parliamentarians, the Opposition says the motion would clearly succeed, forcing the prime minister to resign within three days or dissolve parliament and call a general election.

Dominica

Dominica is launching a pilot program that would provide nationals with a multi-purpose identification card. Acting Chief Elections Officer, Anita Rodney, said the enrolment program would begin with public officers and based on the results, the Electoral Office will decide on a date for enrolling the general public.

Rodney said public servants being enrolled should bring in a pictorial ID such as a social security card, or passport, a birth certificate, where applicable.

In August, the Roosevelt Skerrit administration, which has dismissed opposition calls for separate ID cards for electoral purposes, announced that it had provided US $785,000 towards the purchase of the equipment and that it was providing a further US$96,000 for the first 100,000 cards, which would be provided free to nationals.

The main opposition United Workers Party (UWP) has criticized the idea of a single ID card, saying that voter ID cards had been recommended by the Chief Election Officer in a 2009 report as well as by an observer team from the Organization of America States (OAS).

But Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said that his administration was prepared to pay the four million (EC) dollars (US $1.48 million) for the national identification card which he said could also serve as a voter ID card.

Jamaica

Jamaica has widened its strategy to deal with money laundering with the Senate giving approval to five Orders under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).

The Orders cover non-financial businesses and professions and Justice Minister Mark Golding said the government had determined that certain sectors that were outside of the traditional financial sector, and in keeping with international requirements and trends, should be subjected to anti-money laundering measures.

“The reason for this is that criminals often need to use the services of these professionals and others to launder their illicit cash.

“As a consequence, having these professions being subjected to anti-money laundering measures is a strong deterrent to launderers, and should also assist law enforcement in tracking assets, where these professionals make the required disclosures under law,” he said.

Golding said that the purpose of the Orders was to designate these professions as nonfinancial institutions under the provisions of POCA.

“The effect of this designation is that these professions will then be brought within the definition of a regulated sector and thereby be subjected to certain anti money laundering obligations under the POCA and the proceeds of crime money laundering regulations.” he said.

Opposition Senator, Alexander Williams, said there was support for the legislation as it “will tighten our compliance with the requirements laid out by the financial action task force.”

The Orders will come into effect on April 1, 2014, except for the Proceeds of Crime (Designated Non-Financial Institution) (Attorneys-at-law) Order, which will take effect in June 2014.

Compiled by Azad Ali

Updated 3:05 am, July 10, 2018
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