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Bahamas

Bahamas Minister of Financial Services Ryan Pinder said it is time to allow select foreign law firms to operate within the Bahamas’ financial services industry.

Speaking at the 2014 Nassau Conference, Pinder argued that opening the doors to internationally diverse law firms in the Bahamas would further stimulate the country’s financial services sector by attracting foreign business from regional competitors with somewhat more relaxed foreign work policies.

“I proposed at this time we consider allowing foreign law firms with the necessary expertise to enter and operate from within the Bahamas in the financial services industry,” Pinder said.

The announcement is likely to be met with resistance from the Bahamas Bar Association, which has defended the country’s protectionist work policies.

Barbados

The Barbados government said it would not seek assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help turn around an ailing company, insisting the fiscal program it has embarked upon is working despite having laid off thousands of public workers.

“What we have to do is to do the things that would help us achieve the (economic) growth,” Finance and Economic Minister Chris Sinckler told a news conference.

“Based on what we are seeing we know growth will return,” he said, telling reporters the government was working to achieve the two-percent economic growth as predicted by the Central Bank of Barbados.

Sinckler said; “We are not contemplating any IMF program at this stage, we do not think it is necessary, we believe that Barbadians can achieve the objectives of the program that we have set ourselves.”

Dominica

Dominica has launched a multi-million dollar project it hopes will enhance the island’s ability to deal with the impact of climate change.

Deputy Prime Minister Ambrose George, speaking at the launch of the World Bank funded US$38 million project, said it is intended to “reduce the impacts of climate change disaster and build resilience to adapt to such impacts.”

He said the project is designed to contribute to the vulnerability and risk education through a combination of civil works, capacity building and institutional strengthening activities at the national and regional levels.

George told the launch that Dominica received US$38 million from the World Bank and the Climate Investment Fund towards the cost of the disaster vulnerability reduction project.

Grenada

Former member of the left-wing People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG), Selwyn Strachan, is calling for the abolition of the death penalty as Grenadians debates changes to the 40-year-old constitution.

Strachan, who was also convicted for the murder of then Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and members of his Cabinet in a palace coup in l983, said Grenada should take the lead in the Caribbean and seek to have the death penalty abolished in its entirety.

“The last time the death penalty was actually applied was in 1978. So Grenada is in a unique position to take the next step and to offer some leadership in the region in this regard,” said Strachan, who was freed following a re-sentencing exercise a few years ago.

The London-based human rights group Amnesty International has been urging regional governments to abolish the death penalty, saying it does not serve as a deterrent to crime.

There have been mixed reactions in the region to the call and last month, the Grenada government said it would not seek to influence the outcome of the referendum on the island’s Constitution scheduled for February next year.

Legal Affairs Minister Elvin Nimrod said that the Keith Mitchell administration has since approved the 12 recommendations from the Constitution Reform Advisory Committee headed by former attorney general Dr. Francis Alexis.

Guyana

Guyana says it will receive US$35 million from Norway under the forests and climate change partnership between the two countries.

President Donald Ramotar in a nationwide radio and television broadcast said Norway will pay Guyana the funds for the global climate services provided during 2012..

“The latest payment will bring our total funds earned under the Partnership to US$150 million,” is also a strong rebuttal to those who have tried for several years to kill our Low Carbon Development Strategy and the Guyana-Norway partnership.

“For many years, vested interests in Guyana tried repeatedly to prevent our country from receiving this money from Norway. On failing to do so, some politicians tried in three successive national budgets to stop the money from being invested in our people’s future,” he said.

Ramotar said that over the last five years, Guyana has been laying the foundations for a genuinely low carbon economy.

Haiti

Haiti’s government announced recently it was postponing long-delayed legislative and municipal elections that had been due to be held earlier this month.

The vote is already three years overdue. No new date has been announced, though President Michel Martelly’s office vowed to hold election “as soon as possible.”

A statement explaining the decision cited Martelly’s “consistent concern to guarantee political stability.”

Haitians were supposed to go to the polls on Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014 to elect 20 senators, 102 deputies and municipal officials.

Protestors were swift in demanding Martelly’s resignation for his “inability to organize elections in the country.”

Most came from neighborhoods in the heart of the capital Port-au-Prince and marched down several main streets holding up red signs calling for Martelly to step down.

Two opposition activists who had called the protest were arrested by police for “public unrest and inciting violence.

Martelly had decreed in June that there would be an election on Oct. 26, 2014, but the National Assembly did not pass an electoral law in time because of a political impasse.

Legislators and the opposition resisted attempts to hold the vote, saying the rules had been rigged by Martelly’s camp.

St. Vincent

Police are searching for the gunmen who shot and killed two people including a 24-year-old woman recently.

Investigators say that Aninika Stowe, a mother of an eight-year old girl, died at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital where she had been taken after being shot in the chest in the Central Kingstown village of Green Hill.

In the other incident, an unidentified man was shot and killed in Calder. Police say they have no motive for the killings that bring the homicide count this year to 30.

The deaths came two days after residents of Glen staged a peace rally to highlight and recommend solutions to the crime situation in that East St. George community, where several murders have taken place this year, including two in September.

Trinidad

The Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago says a new TT$50 note will be launched in December to coincide with the Bank’s 5t0th anniversary.

Governor of the Central Bank Jawala Rambarran said the new note will be gold in color and will be made from polymer, a plastic-type material. He described polymer notes as the future of bank notes, more secure and virtually impossible to counterfeit.

The Central Bank first issued a $50 note in 2012 to coincide with the Trinidad and Tobago’s 50th Independence anniversary.

But he acknowledged that the note had not found widespread acceptance by the population.

The new re-designed $50 bank note will be unveiled during the Bank’s Golden Anniversary celebrations on Dec. 13 and available two days later.

— compiled by Azad Ali

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