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2014_04_03­_Azad_Cari­bbeanRoundup

Caribbean

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) says it has signed an amendment with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to a 2011 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and a 2012 Framework Agreement to support renewable energy and energy efficiency of climate change in Central America and the Caribbean.

Under this amendment the target of JICA’s co-financing for this program, known as “Co-financing for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency” (CORE), will be increased to US$1 billion from a previous amount of US$300 million, “as well as the eligible beneficiaries will be expanded in Central America and the Caribbean, the IDB said in a statement.

It said the amendment was signed between IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno and JICA’s Senior Special Advisor Kunio Okaruma during the IDB’s 2014 annual meeting.

The co-financing program was a result of several agreements between the IDB and the JICA, the most recent in March 2012 focusing on strategic partnerships on renewable energy and energy efficiency, “a key component of the bank’s response to climate change adaptation and mitigation”.

It said one of the key priorities of the JICA is to increase assistance and strengthen sustainable energy and climate change operations in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Antigua

The Board of Directors of LIAT has announced the appointment of David Evans as the new chief executive officer (CEO) of the regional airline, effective April 22, 2014.

Evans would take over CEO responsibilities from Julie Reifer-Jones, who has been acting in the position since the resignation of Captain Ian Brunton last September.

Evans, a British national, is said to have more than 35 years of experience in senior roles within the aviation industry.

“Between 1975 and 1997, Evans served as airport manager, country manager and area manager with British Airways in East Africa, Saudi Arabia, France, Philippines, China, Denmark and the United States,” LIAT said in a statement.

In 1997, Evans was appointed managing director of British Airways Regional - a position held until 2001 when he became managing director of British Airways CitiExpress and BA Connect, serving in that capacity for six years. He has served in the airlines in the Middle East and Africa.

Bahamas

The third Caribbean Conference on the international financial services sector was recently held in Nassau, Bahamas.

Entitled; “The Caribbean Engaging the World in Financial Services,” the conference which was jointly hosted by the Caribbean Export Development Agency and the Government of The Bahamas provided a unique forum for policy makers, regulators and finance practitioners of Caribbean International Financial Centers to interact with the architects of the major global financial policy initiatives.

It also presented an opportunity for discussion on several issues related to the major international initiatives impacting on the region’s financial services sector.

Barbados Minister of Industry, International Business Commerce and Small Business said the conference recommended strategies of ensuring that the financial services industry continues to thrive and remains a major contributor to the sustainability and development of regional economies.

Prime Minister of The Bahamas Perry Christie delivered the keynote address.

Dominica

A Dominican High Court judge has awarded EC$130,000 plus cost to Dr. Philbert Aaron in a defamation suit filed against police officer and calypsonian, Checko.

Checko had penned a song in 2011, “Bug Her,” which Dr. Aaron claimed was defamatory to him.

According to a statement in the civil suit, the song refers to Dr. Aaron by his designation and initial “Ambassador A.’

In handing down the judgment, Justice Errol Thomas awarded $75,000 for general damages, $50,000 aggravated damages, and $5,000 for exemplary damages on account of the remix of the song because of Cheko’s desire to win the road march title.

On Jan. 16, 2013, Aaron filed a claim against Checko, whose real name is Abel Jno Baptiste, alleging libel and slander with respect to the song, which was written by the defendant. He had failed to put in a defense.

Grenada

Grenada says it has paid US$45,l97.00 in arrears to the United Nations after the international body had withdrawn its voting rights.

The UN had taken the position against Grenada and Dominica, indicating the General Assembly had decided as of March 26, 2014, the two Caribbean countries would not be permitted to vote in the assembly until the end of its 68th session.

Dominica has since paid up its arrears.

Foreign Affairs Minister Nicholas Steele said Grenada had now met its financial obligations to the United Nations.

Haiti

Several thousand people demonstrated in Haiti’s capital recently to call for the resignation of President Michel Martelly.

The protestors, aligned with opposition parties, said Martelly has not done enough to alleviate hunger in the impoverished Caribbean country since he was sworn in as president in May 2011.

The demonstrators, carrying banners and chanting songs in the biggest anti-government protest of the year so far, also complained that legislative and local elections are more than two years overdue.

Under pressure from the United Nations, United States and others, Martelly said he wants to hold the vote this year but no date has been set.

The election would fill 20 of the 30 Senate seats, all the seats in the 99-member Chamber of Deputies and 140 posts at the local level.

Jamaica

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says despite a front loaded adjustment program, Jamaica’s economy has seen some growth over the first year of the program.

IMF resident representative to Jamaica, Bert Van Selm, made the comment in an address to participants attending a Financial Service Commission seminar in Kingston recently.

He asserted that Jamaica’s economic reform program is off to a strong start and for the rest of the program period, there will be no need for further fiscal tightening, but staying on course.

Van Selm said this will have a big impact on the country’s economic performance.

Last month, Jamaica successfully completed its third review of the IMF program.

According to the IMF representative, despite a difficult year of micro-economic adjustments and reforms under the program, there have been positive indications.

He also pointed to December’s tax reform laws in Parliament and the passage of new fiscal rules, saying these are important reforms which have been pending for a long time.

Van Selm added that government has been running a primary surplus of seven and a half percent of GDP this year.

St. Vincent.

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has for the second time in as many months hinted that the next general election will be held ahead of the 2015 constitutional deadline.

Gonsalves, whose United Labor Party (ULP) will be seeking a fourth consecutive term of office, first hinted at an early general election in February as he addressed the party’s annual convention, telling party supporters to get “on your marks.”

Some political observers say the polls can come as soon as July, while others believe it would come towards the end of 2014.

Gonsalves, 67, who during the 2010 general election campaign asked voters to give him another term to mould a new generation of leaders, suggested to party supporters recently that the next election will be his last as party leader.

“I am asking you to tell your children and your grandchildren, I want the young people to tell one another that they have to do this one for the comrade,” he told supporters.

Trinidad

Former United National Congrss (UNC) Prime Minister Basdeo Panday said PM Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s decision to accept the resignation of ex-tourism minister Chandresh Sharma is a reflection of the “incapacity of the leader to choose the correct people.”

Sharma, 54, resigned in the wake of a police investigation into a report by his ex-girlfriend, Sacha Singh, 30, who alleged the former minister slapped her, causing her to fall on her car and was “knocked out.” She suffered a swelling to the head and other minor injuries.

Panday, who was also political leader of the UNC said; “Sharma should not have been a minister. She (Persad-Bissessar was quite amiss to appoint all these people and then fire them. She should have fired them before she appointed them.. that move would have been much more acceptable.”

“Thirteen people fired in four years is an indication of the incapacity of the leader to choose the right people and fire them and claim moral excellence is rather comical,” he said.

Compiled by Azad Ali

Updated 3:05 am, July 10, 2018
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