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Caribbean

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) says ministers of health and other high-level delegates from countries in the Americas, have agreed on a series of actions to advance toward universal health coverage.

PAHAO’s Director Dr. Carissa Etienne says the leaders agreed on a roadmap to progressively ensure that all people have access to the health services they need, when they need them, without fear of financial hardship.

She says it will be a gradual process and each country will follow its own path.

She stressed that achieving universal access and universal health coverage will promote the well-being of people throughout the region in an important way to the development of the countries.

PAHO says currently, 30 percent of people in the Americas cannot access health care for financial reasons and 21 percent lack access to care because of geographical barriers.

Antigua

Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne recently held talks with senior United States officials in a move aimed at ending their long standing Internet gaming dispute.

The meeting followed Browne’s criticism of Washington during his address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York recently.

A statement by the Antigua and Barbuda government stated Prime Minister Browne met US Trade Representative, Michael Froman, “where both sat down to open dialogue about the stalled trade dispute and discussed practical ways in which the matter could be brought to a conclusion.”

Browne was accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Charles Fernandez and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Colin Murdoch.

“Both sides agreed to put a team together to work out the details of their discussion, and PM Browne undertook to name his team within a week,” the statement said.

In his meeting PM Browne outlined the economic loss suffered by Antigua and Barbuda as a result of US non-compliance with the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling, according to the statement. It said both parties are expected to resume discussions in the coming weeks.

Grenada

Grenada has joined several countries that have signed a United Nations resolution against terrorism sponsored by the United States.

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell told a news conference in St. George’s, Grenada he was horrified at the atrocities committed by members of the Islamic States (ISIS), who have taken responsibility for the beheading of at least three Western journalists in Syria.

“You cut off somebody’s neck with a knife. I have seen fowls being killed with a knife and I have difficulty watching it, and for a human being to go through that process it is quite frightening,” Mitchell said.

Trinidad and Tobago also co-sponsored the U.S. resolution, with Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar noting her country is a “firm believer in the ability of the United Nations to contribute to the resolution of international problems such as terrorism.”

The resolution requires nations to “suppress the recruiting, organizing, transporting equipment” and financing for “foreign terrorist fighters”

U.S. President Barack Obama said it also calls on government to “help build the capacity of states on the front lines of the fight.”

More than 100 countries have already signed the resolution.

Haiti

A large group of supporters of former Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide recently marched through the capital on the anniversary of a 1991 military coup that ousted the country’s first democratically elected leader.

Thousands of supporters tried to march from the church where Aristide led services as a Catholic priest to his house. But police fired water cannons and tear gas to disperse them before they arrived at the home.

The march marked the date that the military ousted Aristide less than a year into his first term as president. It comes amid fears he will be arrested for failing to heed a court summons to testify in a corruption case.

St. Kitts

St. Kitts Prime Minister Vance Amory is taking legal action against the state-owned ZIZ Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) claiming that he had been “falsely and maliciously” accused of using his office to enrich himself and his family.

Armory claimed in court documents that the allegations were made in a news item broadcast on June 23.

His attorney, Ted Hobson QC said his client is seeking compensation and we are also calling for an injunction to stop them from repeating the allegations that they made on that broadcast.”

The premier is seeking EC$200,000 in damages.

The lawsuit does not call for an apology and Hobson said that he has no doubt, the news item and the corporation’s response had been politically influenced.

Premier Amory has constantly denied allegations of impropriety over a controversial land sale negotiation with an Iraqi national, calling the allegations outrageous and completely false.

St. Lucia

The Caribbean Association of Banks (CAB) is appealing to the Guyana government to pass the Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Amendment Bill.

In an official statement, CAB said while it recognized Guyana’s efforts to put in place alternative measures to address technical deficiencies in existing legal and financial legislative framework for assessment by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) that is just one small step in actions required to comply with international standards.

The passage of the AML bill is not only about Guyana, but also about the international financial sector as a whole in order to protect all financial systems within the region from ongoing money laundering and terrorist financing risks,” said CAB Chairman Carlton Barclay.

According to CAB, billions of dollars are laundered each year posing significant policy concerns for governments worldwide.

CBA said Guyana’s expediency in passing the AML/CFT Bill will not only benefit its own economy and growth but strengthen the regional financial network and its reputation worldwide.

St. Vincent

St. Vincent and the Grenadines has assumed the chairmanship of the Permanent Council at the Organization of American States (OAS).

The Permanent Council, comprised of the Permanent Representatives (Ambassadors) from the 34 member states is one of the two main political bodies of the Organization.

At the handing over ceremony which took place recently at the headquarters in Washington DC, Permanent Representatives of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Ambassador La Celia A Prince received the chairperson’s gavel from outgoing chair of the Council, Ambassador Sonia Johnny of St. Lucia.

Ambassador Prince will be at the helm of the Permanent Council for three months, after which the chairmanship will be passed to Suriname. The chairmanship of the Permanent Council rotates every quarter, passing to each country by name in alphabetical order.

The Permanent Council will also be chaired for an unprecedented 12 consecutive months by female envoys, notably from the CARICOM region.

Trinidad

Trinidad and Tobago Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran has expressed concern about T&T nationals joining Islamic State militants to fight in Syria and Iraq.

Online videos recently surfaced of two T&T nationals reportedly in the service of ISIS, even as another T&T-born national was stopped by U.S. authorities from traveling to the Middle East to join the jihadist group.

Dookeran said the Ministry of National Security was monitoring the situation.

He described as “landmark” the recent United Nations Security Council resolution to ban foreign fighters in Iraq and Syria.

Co-sponsored by TT, among others, the resolution had drawn near-consensus worldwide to fight terrorism, he said.

— compiled by Azad Ali

Updated 3:05 am, July 10, 2018
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